Etymology
Advertisement

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]

Advertisement
Advertisement
Definitions of contradiction

contradiction (n.)
opposition between two conflicting forces or ideas;
contradiction (n.)
(logic) a statement that is necessarily false;
the statement `he is brave and he is not brave' is a contradiction
Synonyms: contradiction in terms
contradiction (n.)
the speech act of contradicting someone;
he spoke as if he thought his claims were immune to contradiction
From wordnet.princeton.edu