of, relating to, or characteristic of controversy, or prolonged public dispute, debate, or contention; polemical: a controversial book.
subject to controversy; debatable: a controversial decision.
given to controversy; argumentative; disputatious: a controversial public figure.

Origin of controversial

1575–85; < Late Latin contrōversiālis, equivalent to Latin contrōversi(a) controversy + -ālis -al1
Related formscon·tro·ver·sial·ism, nouncon·tro·ver·sial·ist, nouncon·tro·ver·sial·ly, adverbnon·con·tro·ver·sial, adjectivenon·con·tro·ver·sial·ly, adverbpre·con·tro·ver·sial, adjectiveun·con·tro·ver·sial, adjectiveun·con·tro·ver·sial·ly, adverb

Synonyms for controversial Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for controversially

Contemporary Examples of controversially

Historical Examples of controversially

  • It would have been controversially futile if he had done so.


    John Morley

  • "I thought he was German," said C. Weinpusslacher, controversially.

    H. R.

    Edwin Lefevre

  • Controversially speaking, neither of these two "Lives" are of any value.


    Reverend William Canon Fleming

  • I am compelled to say this, if I speak at all of the Arians, which I do historically rather than controversially.

  • It may therefore appear that I took the opinion too controversially, and it seems to me that I sometimes took it too seriously.

    Eugenics and Other Evils

    G. K. Chesterton

Word Origin and History for controversially



1580s, from Late Latin controversialis "pertaining to controversy," from Latin controversia (see controversy).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper