Definition of subcontrary in English:


Line breaks: sub|con¦trary
Pronunciation: /sʌbˈkɒntrəri
Logic , • dated


  • Denoting propositions which can both be true, but cannot both be false (e.g. some X are Y and some X are not Y).
    More example sentences
    • Similarly, ‘some unicorns have horns’ and ‘some unicorns do not have horns’ are both regarded as false, and so they are not subcontrary.’
    • Paradox seems to arise when conditional statements have subcontrary statements as antecedent and consequent.
    • It follows that high or low probability are contrary to necessity of opposite polarity, and subcontrary to possibility of opposite polarity.

noun (plural subcontraries)

Back to top  
  • A subcontrary proposition.
    More example sentences
    • Again, I and O propositions are subcontrary, but not contrary or contradictory.
    • The case of subcontraries will be revealed to include an unjustified presupposition in the section concerning the modern square of opposition.
    • Given that traditional logicians did think the subcontraries have ‘existential import’, how do we resolve the apparent contradiction?


late 16th century: from late Latin subcontrarius, translation of Greek hupenantios.

More definitions of subcontrary

Definition of subcontrary in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day kerf
Pronunciation: kərf
a slit made by cutting with a saw