Definition of contentious in English:

contentious

adjective

  • 1Causing or likely to cause an argument; controversial.

    ‘a contentious issue’
    • ‘In the long run the most contentious issue is likely to be wages.’
    • ‘Of course controversies and contentious issues have emerged.’
    • ‘Analogous battles over school finance issues will likely become just as contentious and prolonged.’
    • ‘Although Tanzania is one of the least densely populated countries in eastern Africa, control and access to productive lands has become an increasingly contentious issue.’
    • ‘Thus the issue remains contentious and unresolved at this time.’
    • ‘As I stated in the opening paragraph of my article, the issue is contentious and controversial.’
    • ‘But the moves for exemption are likely to prove highly contentious, coming as they do in the run-up to elections to the Scottish parliament.’
    • ‘This last piece of evidence is particularly contentious and likely to feature prominently in the appeal.’
    • ‘First aid was also a contentious issue in the dispute.’
    • ‘Other questions of organizational control are also contentious.’
    • ‘Sex and reproductive control have to become less contentious issues.’
    • ‘E-mail is a notoriously bad way to resolve serious disputes over contentious issues, since it easily leads to harsh tones and misunderstandings.’
    • ‘The most contentious issue is likely to be a provision encouraging commissioners to facilitate voluntary co-operation by witness to be heard in private.’
    • ‘I shall therefore summarise the parties' respective arguments on these contentious issues.’
    • ‘That is a very real concern, as is the fact that the Minister has the power to resolve any contentious or unresolved issues to do with scopes of practice.’
    • ‘He said car use in the city centre was likely to be contentious, but that cars should not be banned - just used in moderation.’
    • ‘Some of the most contentious and disputed issues of our day are matters of bioethics.’
    • ‘It would impose an impossible burden on a jobbing printer to have to employ an in-house lawyer to vet contentious or controversial material.’
    • ‘Lin suggested that the legislature could initially review only funds to control the epidemic and leave more contentious issues for further discussion.’
    • ‘Climate change legislation remained contentious and it seems likely that it will studied to death until it's too late to do anything.’
    controversial, disputable, debatable, disputed, contended, open to debate, open to question, moot, vexed
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    1. 1.1 Involving heated argument.
      ‘the socio-economic plan had been the subject of contentious debate’
      • ‘The film refuses to judge - both sides of this contentious debate are vividly and powerfully drawn.’
      • ‘Such strategies can help cut through contentious debates by providing plans of action that all can agree will play out no matter whose view of the future proves correct.’
      • ‘Her request was made during a contentious debate about raising admissions standards at Nevada's public institutions, which she opposes.’
      • ‘Nowhere is the debate more lively and contentious than in psychiatric genetics, but in truth there is a dearth of substantiated, empirical data.’
      • ‘As well, the contentious debate over the full disclosure of vulnerabilities will continue to rage amongst security stakeholders.’
      • ‘Although many agreed that this system was not compatible with separation, the introduction of a new system was highly contentious and hotly debated.’
      • ‘The development of regulations and guidelines for the emerging technologies has led to a contentious public debate about genetic engineering.’
      • ‘We're covering all sides of this very contentious debate.’
      • ‘It will spark months of contentious debate in Congress, where lawmakers will fight to protect their favored programs.’
      • ‘The coercive powers of the State should not be employed in either side of a debate over contentious morality, but they should be employed to uphold the free choices of adults.’
      • ‘Frank, how do Americans view the very contentious debates over teaching evolution and intelligent design?’
      • ‘One of the most contentious areas of debate concerns the ‘stability’ of contracts.’
      • ‘Thus, the structural trigger for detailed public debate on contentious matters would be gone.’
      • ‘In 1996, after much contentious debate, Congress passed historic welfare reform legislation.’
      • ‘There was no winner in Thursday night's debate, which was the most contentious of the four debates held so far.’
      • ‘Did such groups welcome or avoid contentious debates?’
      • ‘A contentious and nuanced debate within our polity that is therefore sure to continue is the one about the value and meaning of neo-conservatism.’
      • ‘The transgene contamination is certain to fuel the contentious debate over the use of genetically modified crops.’
      • ‘Citizenship is centred on the notion of autonomous individuals - by definition, adults - making choices about who runs the government and engaging in contentious debate.’
      • ‘I feel somewhat guilty for dismissing what is certainly a very contentious debate in a few lines yesterday.’
      heated, vehement, fierce, violent, intense, impassioned, committed
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    2. 1.2 (of a person) given to provoking argument.
      • ‘A blow to the nose, sharply given by an experienced pastor during a congregational debate, can put a contentious layperson into a stupor.’
      • ‘A strongly contentious figure, he garnered many enemies as well as advocates.’
      • ‘We have always been a contentious people without any hesitation to tear down our leaders.’
      • ‘There is nothing contentious or political about them.’
      • ‘He was, and remains, a contentious figure, accused by some of scheming and power-mongering.’
      • ‘At about the same time, the Pentagon's exultation of a contentious personality reflected an increasingly codified belief in speed.’
      • ‘Strange was it to see two so vastly different men as these: Lin was a simple, small town boy, while Jamie was a brilliant, yet from time to time arrogant and contentious man with a youthful side to him.’
      • ‘In the commentaries that precede the extracts, the editor is at pains to present potentially contentious figures as unanimously acclaimed.’
      • ‘Now the tables are turned on the university's contentious president.’
      • ‘A small, dark, contentious people known as the Picts held sway over the islands until the eighth and ninth centuries, when Viking invaders arrived.’
      • ‘She'd been expecting a sweet, unfortunate boy that she might perhaps feel some compassion for, but at the moment all she should feel for this contentious lad was anger.’
      • ‘Cadorna would become one of the most contentious figures in the history of the war.’
      • ‘By all accounts, her husband was contentious and physically abusive.’
      • ‘I don't like breaches and I am not a particularly contentious person at all, but if my back is against the wall I can certainly muster all my inner forces.’
      • ‘These were complex, troubled, frequently contentious people.’
      • ‘The Greeks did not have the capacity to write philosophy, because they were a contentious people.’
      • ‘He is known as a bold, often contentious director.’
      • ‘What these beneficiaries of social mobility urged on contentious workers was pious resignation, and in no city did they sermonize more harshly than in Rouen.’
      • ‘A contentious or belligerent personality toward others is indicative of hyper-sensitivity and a feeling of never being fully understood.’
      • ‘The book fails to portray the bawdy and contentious woman who wanted always to be on center stage.’
      argumentative, disputatious, disputative, confrontational, captious, factious, cavilling, pugnacious, combative, ready for a fight, defiant, hostile, antagonistic, bellicose, belligerent, militant, warring, fighting, battling
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    3. 1.3Law Relating to or involving differences between contending parties.
      • ‘We must find an accord, even if it involves the imposition of peace keeping force between the contentious parties.’
      • ‘A still more contentious area surrounds the question whether the defendants, or either of them, should be permitted to make purchases.’
      • ‘It looks as if the only contentious affidavit is this one you are about to tell me about, Mr Douglas.’
      • ‘He refrained from reaching any firm conclusion, but said that it was plain that the entirety of the claimants' cases was contentious to a degree.’
      • ‘Solicitors acting for their clients in contentious business of any kind frequently have to write letters which are or may be defamatory of their clients' adversaries.’
      • ‘The Continuing Record extends to eleven volumes and includes serious, contentious allegations back and forth between the parties and other deponents.’
      • ‘Of course, there would be limits to this freedom, such as where a party is giving contentious evidence in an arbitration.’
      • ‘And what inspiration will a new CEO bring to that very contentious party?’
      • ‘The century-old organization used to be at the mercy of the often contentious parties in Italy's coalition governments.’
      • ‘As between solicitor and client in both contentious and non-contentious costs the taxing officer starts with the retainer.’
      • ‘Are there other examples of the Supreme Court resolving contentious moral questions based on ambiguous constitutional text?’
      • ‘They are inapplicable to orders made by a court of unlimited jurisdiction in the course of contentious litigation.’
      • ‘The Convention has thus not resolved some of the contentious extraterritorial claims by some states.’
      • ‘It is not easy for third parties to intervene in bilateral contentious litigation.’
      • ‘I therefore agree that the client care letter or any contentious business agreement should be attached to the bill of costs.’
      • ‘Very competent counsel represented the parties and settled many of the contentious matters.’
      • ‘My Lord, you will be aware of the contentious nature of this litigation between the parties.’
      • ‘When counsel appears as a witness on a contentious matter, it causes two problems.’
      • ‘It was also a reform which concentrated on a single, highly contentious aspect of transplantation law and ignored long-standing proposals for reform and European initiatives.’
      • ‘On the other hand, reopening contentious matters or permitting one or more of the parties to add to their case or make a new case should rarely be allowed.’

Origin

Late Middle English: from Old French contentieux, from Latin contentiosus, from content- ‘striven’, from the verb contendere.

Pronunciation

contentious

/kənˈtɛnʃəs/