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From Middle English controversie, from Old French controversie, from Latin contrōversia (debate, contention, controversy), from contrōversus (turned in an opposite direction).


  • (UK) now more common: IPA(key): /kənˈtɹɒvəsi/, more traditional: IPA(key): /ˈkɒntɹəˌvɜːsi/[1]
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  • (US, Canada) IPA(key): /ˈkɑntɹəˌvɝsi/
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controversy (countable and uncountable, plural controversies)

  1. A debate or discussion of opposing opinions; (generally) strife.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:dispute
    Antonyms: consensus, agreement
    • 1605, Francis Bacon, “The First Booke”, in The Twoo Bookes of Francis Bacon. Of the Proficience and Aduancement of Learning, Diuine and Humane, London: [] [Thomas Purfoot and Thomas Creede] for Henrie Tomes, [], →OCLC, folio 11, recto:
      [A]nd it is without all controuerſie, that learning doth make the minds of men gentle, generous, maniable, and pliant to gouernment; whereas Ignorance makes them churlish[,] thwart, and mutinous; [...]
    • 1911 [1888], Ellen G. White, “Introduction”, in The Great Controversy[1], page x:
      From time to time I have been permitted to behold the working, in different ages, of the great controversy between Christ, the Prince of life, the Author of our salvation, and Satan, the prince of evil, the author of sin, the first transgressor of God's holy law.
    • 2011 October 1, Phil McNulty, “Everton 0 – 2 Liverpool”, in BBC Sport[2], archived from the original on 15 July 2019:
      The game was engulfed in controversy when [Jack] Rodwell appeared to win the ball cleanly in a midfield challenge with [Luis] Suarez. The tackle drew an angry response from Liverpool's players – Lucas in particular as Suarez writhed in agony – but it was an obvious injustice when the England Under-21 midfielder was shown the red card.
    • 2023 December 27, David Turner, “Silent lines...”, in RAIL, number 999, page 29:
      On November 29 1952, a special train ran from Sunderland to Leeds for Christmas shoppers and those attending a Leeds vs. Brentford match. It caused controversy, with Sunderland traders protesting that their shops were just as good as those in Leeds.

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  1. ^ controversy,

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