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Borrowed from Latin contradict-, the participle stem of contrādīcō (I speak against) (originally two words).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /kɒntɹəˈdɪkt/
  • (file)


contradict (third-person singular simple present contradicts, present participle contradicting, simple past and past participle contradicted)

  1. To deny the truth or validity of (a statement or statements).
    His testimony contradicts hers.
    • 1651, Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, London: Andrew Crooke, Chapter 42 “Of Power Ecclesiasticall,” p. 270,[1]
      [] the Ministers of Christ in this world, have no Power by that title, to Punish any man for not Beleeving, or for Contradicting what they say;
    • 1813, Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, Volume 1, Chapter 23,[2]
      Day after day passed away without bringing any other tidings of him than the report which shortly prevailed in Meryton of his coming no more to Netherfield the whole winter; a report which highly incensed Mrs. Bennet, and which she never failed to contradict as a most scandalous falsehood.
    • 1959, Robert A. Heinlein, Starship Troopers, New York: Ace Books, 2006, Chapter , p. 97,[3]
      I spent the whole long hike back to camp thinking about that amazing letter. It didn’t sound in the least like anything he had ever said in class. Oh, I don’t mean it contradicted anything he had told us in class; it was just entirely different in tone.
  2. To oppose (a person) by denying the truth or pertinence of a given statement.
    Everything he says contradicts me.
    • c. 1605, William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act II, Scene 3,[4]
      Dear Duff, I prithee, contradict thyself,
      And say it is not so.
    • 1753, Samuel Richardson, The History of Sir Charles Grandison, London, Volume 5, Letter 17, p. 113,[5]
      [] all these people having deservedly the reputation of good sense, penetration, and so-forth, I cannot contradict them with credit to myself.
    • 1915, Virginia Woolf, The Voyage Out, New York: George H. Doran, 1920, Chapter 15, p. 199,[6]
      “I always contradict my husband when he says that,” said Mrs. Thornbury sweetly. “You men! Where would you be if it weren’t for the women!”
  3. To be contrary to (something).
    • 1604, Richard Hooker, Of the Lawes of Ecclesiasticall Politie, London, Book 2, p. 118,[7]
      Now no truth can contradict any truth; desirous therefore they were to be taught, how bothe might stand together, that which they knew could not be false, because Christ spake it; and this which to them did seeme true, onely because the Scribes had said it.
    • 1760, Laurence Sterne, The Sermons of Mr. Yorick, London: R. & J. Dodsley, Volume 1, Sermon 2, p. 32,[8]
      [] as he is going to a house dedicated to joy and mirth, it was fit he should divest himself of whatever was likely to contradict that intention, or be inconsistent with it.
    • 1814, William Wordsworth, The Excursion, London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme & Brown, Book 5, “The Pastor,” p. 231,[9]
      [] True indeed it is
      That They whom Death has hidden from our sight
      Are worthiest of the Mind’s regard; with these
      The future cannot contradict the past:
    • 1980, Anthony Burgess, Earthly Powers, Penguin, 1981, Chapter 60, p. 486,
      My persona was mildly liked by television audiences. Its features were recognizable and caricaturable—the cigarette in its Dunhill holder wielded as gracefully as a Queen Anne fan, the Savile Row suitings whose conservative elegance was contradicted by opennecked silk shirts from Kuala Lumpur or by cream polo sweaters []
  4. (obsolete) To give an order contrary to (another order or wish), oppose (something).
    • c. 1612, William Shakespeare and John Fletcher, Henry VIII, Act II, Scene 4,[10]
      [] when was the hour
      I ever contradicted your desire,
      Or made it not mine too?
    • 1662, Margaret Cavendish, The Matrimonial Trouble, Act II, Scene 21 in Playes written by the thrice noble, illustrious and excellent princess, the Lady Marchioness of Newcastle, London: John Martyn et al., p. 435,[11]
      Lady Sprightly. What had you to do to contradict my commands?
      Doll Subtilty. They were not fit to be obey’d, wherefore they were forbid.
  5. (obsolete) To give an order contrary to one given by (another person), oppose or resist (someone).
  6. (obsolete) To speak against; to forbid.
    • 1624, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy: [], 2nd edition, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC 54573970:
      , New York 2001, p. 203:
      [] magic hath been publicly professed in former times, in Salamanca, Cracovia, and other places, though after censured by several universities, and now generally contradicted, though practised by some still […].


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