noun, plural con·trar·ies.
- contrary motion,
- contrast bath
- in opposition to what has been stated.
- from another point of view: On the contrary, there may be some who would agree with you.
- to the opposite effect: I believe he is innocent, whatever they may say to the contrary.
- to a different effect.
Origin of contrary
noun plural -ries
adverb (usually foll by to)
Word Origin for contrary
mid-14c., from Anglo-French contrarie, from Latin contrarius "opposite, opposed," from contra "against" (see contra).
If we take the statement All men are mortal, its contrary is Not all men are mortal, its converse is All mortal beings are men, & its opposite is No men are mortal. The contrary, however, does not exclude the opposite, but includes it as its most extreme form. Thus This is white has only one opposite, This is black, but many contraries, as This is not white, This is coloured, This is dirty, This is black; & whether the last form is called the contrary, or more emphatically the opposite, is usually indifferent. But to apply the opposite to a mere contrary (e.g. to I did not hit him in relation to I hit him, which has no opposite), or to the converse (e.g. to He hit me in relation to I hit him, to which it is neither contrary nor opposite), is a looseness that may easily result in misunderstanding; the temptation to go wrong is intelligible when it is remembered that with certain types of sentence (A exceeds B) the converse & the opposite are identical (B exceeds A). [Fowler]
As a noun from late 13c. Related: Contrarily; contrariwise.
on the contrary
It's the opposite, as in Is his shoulder hurting?—On the contrary, it's all better, or We thought you didn't like opera.—On the contrary, I love it. This phrase, at first put as by or for or in the contrary, dates from the late 1300s; on has been used since the mid-1800s.
see on the contrary; to the contrary.