1570s, "speak against, oppose" (a sense now obsolete); 1580s, "assert the contrary or opposite of," from Latin contradictus, past participle of contradicere, in classical Latin contra dicere "to speak against," from contra "against" (see contra (prep., adv.)) + dicere "to say, speak" (from PIE root *deik- "to show," also "pronounce solemnly").
Meaning "deny the words or assertions of, speak in contradiction" is from c. 1600. Of statements, etc., "be inconsistent with," c. 1600. Related: Contradicted; contradicting; contradictive.
It forms all or part of: abdicate; abdication; addict; adjudge; apodictic; avenge; benediction; betoken; condition; contradict; contradiction; dedicate; deictic; deixis; dictate; diction; dictionary; dictum; digit; disk; ditto; ditty; edict; Eurydice; index; indicate; indication; indict; indiction; indictive; indite; interdict; judge; judicial; juridical; jurisdiction; malediction; malison; paradigm; policy (n.2) "written insurance agreement;" preach; predicament; predicate; predict; prejudice; revenge; soi-disant; syndic; teach; tetchy; theodicy; toe; token; valediction; vendetta; verdict; veridical; vindicate; vindication; voir dire.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit dic- "point out, show;" Greek deiknynai "to show, to prove," dike "custom, usage;" Latin dicere "speak, tell, say," digitus "finger," Old High German zeigon, German zeigen "to show," Old English teon "to accuse," tæcan "to teach."
"prove to be false or erroneous," late 14c., from Old French desprover "refute, contradict," from des- (see dis-) + prover "show; convince; put to the test" (see prove). Related: Disproved; disproving; disprovable. Middle English also had dispreven, from Old French desprover, with substitution of prefix.
"to unsay, to contradict or withdraw a declaration or proposition," 1530s, from Latin recantare "recall, revoke," from re- "back" (see re-) + cantare, literally "to chant, to sing" (from PIE root *kan- "to sing"). The English word is from the Reformation; the Latin verb is a loan-translation of Greek palinoidein "recant," from palin "back" + oeidein "to sing." Related: Recanted; recanting. It was used occasionally 17c. in an etymological sense of "sing over again" (with re- = "again").
The other verb lie once also had an identical variant form, from Old English belicgan, which meant "to encompass, beleaguer," and in Middle English was a euphemism for "to have sex with" (i.e. "to lie with carnally").
late 14c., opposen, "to speak or act against; accuse, question, interrogate," from Old French oposer "oppose, resist, rival; contradict, state opposing point of view" (12c.), apparently from assimilated form of Latin ob- "in the direction of, in front of" (see ob-) + French poser "to place, lay down" (see pose (v.1)), with the sense blended with that of Latin opponere "oppose, object to, set against" (see opponent). The meaning "to set or place over against or directly opposite" (transitive) and "interpose effort or objection, be adverse, act adversely" (intransitive) are from 1590s. Related: Opposed; opposing.
1530s, "mutually opposed, at variance, inconsistent, incapable of being true together," from Late Latin contradictorius "containing a contradiction or objection," from contradictus, past participle of contradicere "to speak against" (see contradiction).
Sense of "denying that something stated or approved is completely true" is from c. 1600. Meaning "fond of contradicting" is from 1891. Other adjectives, now obsolete, in the same sense were contradictorious (early 15c.), contradictious (c. 1600), contradictive (1620s). Related: Contradictorily. Used earlier as a noun (late 14c.) in plural contradictories, "a pair of propositions inconsistent with each other."
late 14c., "objection, opposition; hostility, mutual opposition," also "absolute inconsistency," from Old French contradiction or directly from Late Latin contradictionem (nominative contradictio) "a reply, objection, counterargument," noun of action from past-participle stem of contradicere, in classical Latin contra dicere "to speak against, oppose in speech or opinion," from contra "against" (see contra) + dicere "to say, speak" (from PIE root *deik- "to show," also "pronounce solemnly"). Old English used wicwedennis as a loan-translation of Latin contradictio.
Meaning "an assertion of the direct opposite of what has been said or affirmed" is from c. 1400. Sense of "a contradictory fact or condition" is from 1610s. Contradiction in terms "self-contradictory phrase" is attested from 1705.
[C]ontradictions become elegance and propriety of language, for a thing may be excessively moderate, vastly little, monstrous pretty, wondrous common, prodigious natural, or devilish godly .... [Abraham Tucker, "The Light of Nature Pursued," 1805]