[ kon-truh-vur-see; British also kuhn-trov-er-see ]
See synonyms for: controversycontroversies on

noun,plural con·tro·ver·sies.
  1. a prolonged public dispute, debate, or contention; disputation concerning a matter of opinion.

  2. contention, strife, or argument.

Origin of controversy

1350–1400; Middle English controversie (<Anglo-French ) <Latin contrōversia, equivalent to contrōvers(us) turned against, disputed (contrō-, variant of contrā against, + versus, past participle of vertere to turn) + -ia-y3

synonym study For controversy

2. See argument.

Other words for controversy

Other words from controversy

  • pre·con·tro·ver·sy, noun, plural pre·con·tro·ver·sies.

Words Nearby controversy Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use controversy in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for controversy


/ (ˈkɒntrəˌvɜːsɪ, kənˈtrɒvəsɪ) /

nounplural -sies
  1. dispute, argument, or debate, esp one concerning a matter about which there is strong disagreement and esp one carried on in public or in the press

Origin of controversy

C14: from Latin contrōversia, from contrōversus turned in an opposite direction, from contra- + vertere to turn

Derived forms of controversy

  • controversial (ˌkɒntrəˈvɜːʃəl), adjective
  • controversialism, noun
  • controversialist, noun
  • controversially, adverb

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