a prefix meaning “against,” “opposite,” “opposing”: contradistinction, contraindicate.

Nearby words

  1. contour sheet,
  2. contoured,
  3. contr.,
  4. contra,
  5. contra dance,
  6. contra-aperture,
  7. contra-guide rudder,
  8. contraband,
  9. contraband of war,
  10. contrabandist

Origin of contra-

< Late Latin, Latin, prefixal use of adverb and preposition contrā



a prefix meaning “pitched lower than” the voice or instrument specified by the following element: contralto, contrabassoon.

Origin of contra-

< Italian < Latin; see contra-1, counterpoint Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for contra-



against; contrary; opposing; contrastingcontraceptive; contradistinction
(in music) pitched belowcontrabass

Word Origin for contra-

from Latin, from contrā against

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for contra-


word-forming element meaning "against, in opposition," from Latin adverb and preposition contra (see contra). The Latin word was used as a prefix in Late Latin. In French, it became contre- and passed into English as counter-. The Old English equivalent was wiðer (surviving in withers and widdershins), from wið "with, against."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for contra-



Against; opposite; contrasting:contraindication.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.