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controversy Line breaks: con¦tro|versy
Pronunciation: /ˈkɒntrəvəːsi/

Definition of controversy in English:

noun (plural controversies)

[mass noun]
Prolonged public disagreement or heated discussion: the design of the building has caused controversy [count noun]: the announcement ended a protracted controversy
More example sentences
  • He will knowingly enter a mild scuffle of controversy not of his own making.
  • A storm of controversy continues to rage over changes to bus services in Colchester.
  • Then the police were subject to a storm of political conflict and controversy.
disagreement, dispute, argument, debate, dissension, contention, disputation, altercation, wrangle, quarrel, squabble, war of words, storm;
wrangling, quarrelling, squabbling, bickering;
French cause célèbre
British informal row
rare velitation


There are two possible pronunciations of the word controversy: one puts the stress on the con- and the other puts it on the -trov-. The second pronunciation, though common, is still widely held to be incorrect in standard English.


Late Middle English: from Latin controversia, from controversus 'turned against, disputed', from contro- (variant of contra- 'against') + versus, past participle of vertere 'to turn'.

  • This is from Latin controversia, from controversus ‘turned against, disputed’.

Words that rhyme with controversy

Definition of controversy in:
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