Words related to contra

Origin and meaning of com-

word-forming element usually meaning "with, together," from Latin com, archaic form of classical Latin cum "together, together with, in combination," from PIE *kom- "beside, near, by, with" (compare Old English ge-, German ge-). The prefix in Latin sometimes was used as an intensive.

Before vowels and aspirates, it is reduced to co-; before -g-, it is assimilated to cog- or con-; before -l-, assimilated to col-; before -r-, assimilated to cor-; before -c-, -d-, -j-, -n-, -q-, -s-, -t-, and -v-, it is assimilated to con-, which was so frequent that it often was used as the normal form.


word-forming element meaning "against, in opposition," from Latin adverb and preposition contra "against" (see contra (prep., adv.)). The Latin word was used as a prefix in Late Latin. In French, it became contre- and passed into English as counter-. The Old English equivalent was wiðer (surviving in withers and widdershins), from wið "with, against."

con (n.1, adv.)

"negation; in the negative; the arguments, arguers, or voters against a proposal" (mainly in pro and con), 1570s, short for Latin contra "against" (see contra (prep., adv.)). Compare pro (n.2).

contraband (n.)

1520s, "smuggling, illegal or prohibited traffic;" 1590s, "smuggled goods, anything by law forbidden to be imported or exported;" from French contrebande "a smuggling," from older Italian contrabando (modern contrabbando) "unlawful dealing," etymologically "contrary to proclamation," from Latin contra "against" (see contra (prep., adv.)) + Medieval Latin bannum, from Frankish *ban "a command" or some other Germanic source (see ban (v.)).  As an adjective, "prohibited by law, proclamation, or treaty," 1650s. 

contraception (n.)
Origin and meaning of contraception

"birth control, prevention of conception in the womb," coined 1886 from Latin contra "against" (see contra (prep., adv.)) + ending from conception.

contradict (v.)
Origin and meaning of contradict

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.

contradiction (n.)

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]
contralto (n.)

"voice intermediary between the soprano and the tenor, lowest female voice," 1730, contralt, from Italian contralto, from contra, from Latin contra "against, opposite" (see contra) + alto (see alto). As "person with a contralto voice," 1776; as an adjective, 1769.

In medieval music, in which the melody was either in a middle voice or passed from one voice to another, and which utilized only male singers, the upper voice was naturally called altus. As music for mixed voices developed, that female voice which was nearest the altus, and thus most contrasted with it, was called contr' alto. [Century Dictionary]
contraposition (n.)

"a placing over against, opposite position," 1550s, from Late Latin contrapositionem (nominative contrapositio), noun of action from past-participle stem of contraponere "to place opposite, to oppose to," from contra "against" (see contra (prep., adv.)) + ponere "to put, place" (past participle positus; see position (n.)).

contrapuntal (adj.)

"pertaining to counterpoint or in accordance with its rules," 1815, with -al (1) + Italian contrapunto "counterpoint," also "backstitch," from contra "against" (see contra (prep., adv.)) + punto "point" (see point (n.)). Musical use is from Medieval Latin cantus contrapunctis. Compare counterpoint. Related: Contrapuntally.