from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A dispute, especially a public one, between sides holding opposing views.
  • noun The act or practice of engaging in such disputes.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Disputation; debate; agitation of contrary opinions; a formal or prolonged debate; dispute.
  • noun Specifically A suit in law; the contention in a civil action; a case in which opposing parties contend for their respective claims before a tribunal.
  • noun A matter in dispute; a question to settle.
  • noun Antagonism; resistance.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Contention; dispute; debate; discussion; agitation of contrary opinions.
  • noun Quarrel; strife; cause of variance; difference.
  • noun obsolete A suit in law or equity; a question of right.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A debate, discussion of opposing opinions; strife.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a contentious speech act; a dispute where there is strong disagreement


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English controversie, from Latin contrōversia, from contrōversus, disputed : contrō- (variant of contrā, contra-) + versus, past participle of vertere, to turn; see wer- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin controversia ("debate, contention, controversy"), from controversus ("turned in an opposite direction").


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word controversy.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.