Words related to contra

contrariety (n.)

c. 1400, "state or quality of being contrary, extreme opposition," from Old French contrarieté, from Late Latin contrarietatem (nominative contrarietas) "opposition," noun of quality from contrarius "opposite, opposed; contrary, reverse," from contra "against" (see contra (prep., adv.)). Meaning "something contrary to or extremely unlike another" is from mid-15c.

contrary (adj.)

mid-14c., "opposite, opposed, at the opposite point or in the opposite direction; extremely unlike, most unlike," from Anglo-French contrarie, Old French contrarie, and directly from Latin contrarius "opposite, opposed; contrary, reverse," from contra "against" (see contra). Meaning "given to contradiction, perverse, intractable" is from late 14c.; sense of "adverse, unfavorable" is from late 14c. Related: Contrarily.

As a noun from late 13c., "one of a pair of characters, propositions, terms, etc., the most different possible within the same class." The phrase on the contrary "in precise or extreme opposition to what has been said" is attested from c. 1400 as in the contrary.

If we take the statement All men are mortal, its contrary is Not all men are mortal, its converse is All mortal beings are men, & its opposite is No men are mortal. The contrary, however, does not exclude the opposite, but includes it as its most extreme form. Thus This is white has only one opposite, This is black, but many contraries, as This is not white, This is coloured, This is dirty, This is black; & whether the last form is called the contrary, or more emphatically the opposite, is usually indifferent. But to apply the opposite to a mere contrary (e.g. to I did not hit him in relation to I hit him, which has no opposite), or to the converse (e.g. to He hit me in relation to I hit him, to which it is neither contrary nor opposite), is a looseness that may easily result in misunderstanding; the temptation to go wrong is intelligible when it is remembered that with certain types of sentence (A exceeds B) the converse & the opposite are identical (B exceeds A). [Fowler]
contrast (v.)

1690s, "to set in opposition with a view to show the differences; to stand in opposition or contrast; to set off (each other) by contrast," from French contraster (Old French contrester), modified by or from Italian contrastare "stand out against, strive, contend," from Vulgar Latin *contrastare "to stand opposed to, withstand," from Latin contra "against" (see contra) + stare "to stand," from PIE root *sta- "to stand, make or be firm."

Middle English had contrest "to fight against, to withstand," which became extinct. The modern word is a 17c. re-introduction as a term in fine arts, on the notion of "to exhibit differences or heighten effect by opposition of position, form, color, etc." Related: Contrasted; contrasting; contrastive.

contravene (v.)

1560s, of persons, "to transgress," from French contravenir "to transgress, decline, depart," from Late Latin contravenire "to come against, oppose," in Medieval Latin "to transgress, break (a law)," from Latin contra "against" (see contra (prep., adv.)) + venire "to come" (from PIE root *gwa- "to go, come"). Of actions or things, "come or be in conflict with," 1660s. Related: Contravened; contravening.

contretemps (n.)

1680s, "a blunder in fencing," from French contre-temps "motion out of time, unfortunate accident, bad times" (16c.), from contre, an occasional, obsolete variant of contra (prep.) "against" (from Latin contra "against;" see contra (prep., adv.)) + tempus "time" (see temporal).

Meaning "an unfortunate accident, an unexpected or embarrassing event" is from 1802; as "a dispute, disagreement," from 1961. It also was used as a ballet term (1706).

control (v.)

early 15c., countrollen, "to check the accuracy of, verify; to regulate," from Anglo-French contreroller "exert authority," from Medieval Latin contrarotulus "a counter, register," from Latin contra "against" (see contra) + rotulus, diminutive of rota "wheel" (see roll (n.)). The word apparently comes from a medieval method of checking accounts by a duplicate register.

Un contrerollour qui doit contre roller au tresorere de la garderobe toutz lez receitez. [Household ordinances of Edward II, c. 1310]

Sense of "dominate, direct, exercise control over" is from mid-15c. Related: Controlled; controlling. Control group in scientific experiments is attested from 1952 (from a sense of control attested since 1875).

controversy (n.)

"disputation, debate, prolonged agitation of contrary opinions," late 14c., from Old French controversie "quarrel, disagreement" or directly from Latin controversia "a turning against; contention, quarrel, dispute," from controversus "turned in an opposite direction, disputed, turned against," from contra "against" (see contra (prep., adv.)) + versus "turned toward or against," past participle of vertere "to turn" (from PIE root *wer- (2) "to turn, bend").


word-forming element used in English from c. 1300 and meaning "against, in opposition; in return; corresponding," from Anglo-French countre-, French contre-, from Latin contra "opposite, contrary to, against, in return," also used as a prefix (see contra (prep., adv.)). A doublet of contra-. In some cases it probably represents a purely English use of counter (adv.).

counter (adv.)

"contrary, in opposition, in an opposite direction," mid-15c., from counter- or from Anglo-French and Old French contre "against," both ultimately from Latin contra (see contra (prep., adv.)). As a preposition, "contrary to, opposite, against," mid-15c.

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