What does contrary mean?

Definitions for contrary
ˈkɒn trɛr i; for 5 also kənˈtrɛər icon·tra·ry

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word contrary.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. reverse, contrary, oppositenoun

    a relation of direct opposition

    "we thought Sue was older than Bill but just the reverse was true"

  2. contrarynoun

    exact opposition

    "public opinion to the contrary he is not guilty"

  3. contraryadjective

    a logical relation such that two propositions are contraries if both cannot be true but both can be false

  4. contraryadjective

    very opposed in nature or character or purpose

    "acts contrary to our code of ethics"; "the facts point to a contrary conclusion"

  5. contraryadjective

    of words or propositions so related that both cannot be true but both may be false

    "`hot' and `cold' are contrary terms"

  6. contrary, obstinate, perverse, waywardadjective

    resistant to guidance or discipline

    "Mary Mary quite contrary"; "an obstinate child with a violent temper"; "a perverse mood"; "wayward behavior"

  7. adverse, contraryadjective

    in an opposing direction

    "adverse currents"; "a contrary wind"


  1. contrarynoun

    The opposite.

  2. contrarynoun

    One of a pair of propositions that cannot both be simultaneously true.

  3. contraryverb

    To oppose; to frustrate.

  4. contraryverb

    To impugn.

  5. contraryverb

    To contradict (someone or something).

  6. contraryverb

    To do the opposite of (someone or something).

  7. contraryverb

    To act inconsistently or perversely; to act in opposition to.

  8. contraryverb

    To argue; to debate; to uphold an opposite opinion.

  9. contraryverb

    To be self-contradictory; to become reversed.

  10. contraryadverb


  11. contraryadjective

    opposed in nature

  12. contraryadjective

    strongly dissimilar

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. CONTRARYadjective

    Etymology: contrarius, Latin.

    Perhaps some thing, repugnant to her kind,
    By strong antipathy the soul may kill;
    But what can be contrary to the mind,
    Which holds all contraries in concord still. Davies.

    He that believes it, and yet lives contrary to it, knows that he hath no reason for what he does. John Tillotson, Serm. v.

    The various and contrary choices that men make in the world, do not argue that they do not at all pursue good; but that the same thing is not good to every man alike. John Locke.

    The ship was in the midst of the sea, tossed with the waves; for the wind was contrary. Mat. xiv. 24.

  2. Contrarynoun

    Etymology: from the adjective.

    No contraries hold more antipathy,
    Than I and such a knave. William Shakespeare, King Lear.

    He sung
    Why contraries feed thunder in the cloud. Abraham Cowley, Davideis.

    Honour should be concern’d in honour’s cause;
    That is not to be cur’d by contraries,
    As bodies are, whose health is often drawn
    From rankest poisons. Thomas Southerne, Oroonoko.

    The instances brought by our author are but slender proofs of a right to civil power and dominion in the first-born, and do rather shew the contrary. John Locke.

    He pleaded still not guilty;
    The king’s attorney, on the contrary,
    Urg’d on examinations, proofs, confessions
    Of diverse witnesses. William Shakespeare, Henry VIII.

    If justice stood on the side of the single person, it ought to give good men pleasure to see that right should take place; but when, on the contrary, the commonweal of a whole nation is overborn by private interest, what good man but must lament? Jonathan Swift.

    They did it, not for want of instruction to the contrary. Edward Stillingfleet.

  3. To Contraryverb

    To oppose; to thwart; to contradict.

    Etymology: contrarier, French.

    When I came to court I was advised not to contrary the king. Hugh Latimer.

    Finding in him the force of it, he would no further contrary it, but employ all his service to medicine it. Philip Sidney.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Contraryadjective

    opposite; in an opposite direction; in opposition; adverse; as, contrary winds

  2. Contraryadjective

    opposed; contradictory; repugnant; inconsistent

  3. Contraryadjective

    given to opposition; perverse; forward; wayward; as, a contrary disposition; a contrary child

  4. Contraryadjective

    affirming the opposite; so opposed as to destroy each other; as, contrary propositions

  5. Contrarynoun

    a thing that is of contrary or opposite qualities

  6. Contrarynoun

    an opponent; an enemy

  7. Contrarynoun

    the opposite; a proposition, fact, or condition incompatible with another; as, slender proofs which rather show the contrary. See Converse, n., 1

  8. Contrarynoun

    see Contraries

  9. Etymology: [F. contrarier. See Contrary, a.]


  1. Contrary

    Contrary was a character from Malibu Comics' Ultraverse. She was created by Gerard Jones and Martin Egeland and first appeared in the series Freex, though she was better known as the founder of Ultraforce. Though it has never been truly confirmed, it is heavily implied in Freex that the nurse nicknamed "Wetware Mary" was the same woman who would eventually become Contrary. Both were humans who had access to the advanced technology of the Fire People, and both manipulated people in various ways for their own agendas.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Contrary

    kon′tra-ri, adj. opposite: contradictory—Contra′riant (rare).—n. a thing that is contrary or of opposite qualities.—n.pl. Con′traries, things opposite in quality: (logic) propositions which destroy each other.—n. Contrarī′ety, opposition: inconsistency.—adv. Con′trarily.—n. Con′trariness.—adj. Contrā′rious, showing contrariety: repugnant: opposite.—advs. Contrā′riously, contrarily; Con′trariwise, on the contrary way or side: on the other hand. [L. contrariuscontra, against.]

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. contrary

    The wind when opposed to a vessel's course. "Cruel was the stately ship that bore her love from Mary, And cruel was the fair wind that wouldn't blow contrary."

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'contrary' in Nouns Frequency: #2504

How to pronounce contrary?

How to say contrary in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of contrary in Chaldean Numerology is: 7

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of contrary in Pythagorean Numerology is: 6

Examples of contrary in a Sentence

  1. Michael Avenatti:

    We have significant evidence to the contrary.

  2. Robert E. Lee:

    True patriotism sometimes requires of men to act exactly contrary, at one period, to that which it does at another, and the motive which impels themthe desire to do rightis precisely the same.

  3. Chris Clark:

    Elliott Broidy has never agreed to work for, been retained by nor been compensated by any foreign government for any interaction with the United States Government, ever, any implication to the contrary is a lie.

  4. Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen:

    From where I stand, I'm deeply disappointed that the House leadership would proceed in that way in something that is so obviously beneath the dignity of the offices they hold. It's really a new low for the current House of Representatives, we're talking about a matter, the census, in which the Supreme Court has already ruled, and we have moved on. So, the House has not identified some compelling legislative need for this. To the contrary this makes no sense at all.

  5. Mr. Monk:

    Do you know what a delusion is? It's a false belief sustained despite clear evidence to the contrary.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for contrary

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for contrary »


Find a translation for the contrary definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"contrary." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 5 Jun 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/contrary>.

Discuss these contrary definitions with the community:


    Are we missing a good definition for contrary? Don't keep it to yourself...

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Browse Definitions.net


    Are you a words master?

    openly distrustful and unwilling to confide
    • A. greedy
    • B. witless
    • C. alternate
    • D. suspicious

    Nearby & related entries:

    Alternative searches for contrary: