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[kon-truh-vur-see; British also kuh n-trov-er-see] /ˈkɒn trəˌvɜr si; British also kənˈtrɒv ər si/
noun, plural controversies.
a prolonged public dispute, debate, or contention; disputation concerning a matter of opinion.
contention, strife, or argument.
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
Related forms
precontroversy, noun, plural precontroversies.
1. disagreement, altercation. 2. quarrel, wrangle. See argument. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for controversies
  • Most sports controversies live for only a season or two.
  • He didn't insert his own opinions, and he steered away from the topical controversies of the day.
  • In doing so, they could provoke fresh controversies.
  • His occasional series of columns covers the game, its controversies and what it has taught him about every day life.
  • Globally, nuclear power and nuclear weapons are closely linked, as current controversies show.
  • controversies over whether specific projects reduce net emissions are still common, he says.
  • It weighs upon the reader's spirit with the heaviness of all dead controversies.
  • Meanwhile, the college shut down the student government, which was steeped in related controversies.
  • College presidents are generally reluctant to weigh in on national controversies.
  • Sociologists spoke up during those controversies, but they have also criticized less obviously combustible genetic studies.
British Dictionary definitions for controversies


/ˈkɒntrəˌvɜːsɪ; kənˈtrɒvəsɪ/
noun (pl) -sies
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
Derived Forms
controversial (ˌkɒntrəˈvɜːʃəl) adjective
controversialism, noun
controversialist, noun
controversially, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Latin contrōversia, from contrōversus turned in an opposite direction, from contra- + vertere to turn
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
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Word Origin and History for controversies



late 14c., from Old French controversie or directly from Latin controversia, from controversus "turned in an opposite direction, disputed, turned against," from contra- "against" (see contra) + versus (see verse).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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