contrary


contrary
contrary mid-14c., from Anglo-Fr. contrarie, from L. contrarius "opposite, opposed," from contra "against" (see CONTRA (Cf. contra)).
If we take the statement All men are mortal, its contrary is Not all men are mortal, its converse is All mortal beings are men, & its opposite is No men are mortal. The contrary, however, does not exclude the opposite, but includes it as its most extreme form. Thus This is white has only one opposite, This is black, but many contraries, as This is not white, This is coloured, This is dirty, This is black; & whether the last form is called the contrary, or more emphatically the opposite, is usually indifferent. But to apply the opposite to a mere contrary (e.g. to I did not hit him in relation to I hit him, which has no opposite), or to the converse (e.g. to He hit me in relation to I hit him, to which it is neither contrary nor opposite), is a looseness that may easily result in misunderstanding; the temptation to go wrong is intelligible when it is remembered that with certain types of sentence (A exceeds B) the converse & the opposite are identical (B exceeds A). [Fowler]
As a noun from late 13c. Related: Contrarily; contrariwise.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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  • Contrary — Con tra*ry (? or ?; 48), a. [OE. contrarie, contraire, F. contraire, fr. L. contrarius, fr. contra. See {Contra }.] 1. Opposite; in an opposite direction; in opposition; adverse; as, contrary winds. [1913 Webster] And if ye walk contrary unto me …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • contrary — I adjective abnegative, adversative, adverse, adversus, answering, antagonistic to, antipathetic, antithetic, antithetical, at cross purposes, at issue, at variance, averse, captious, conflicting, confutative, confuting, contradicting,… …   Law dictionary

  • contrary — n antithesis, opposite, contradictory, antonym, antipode (see under OPPOSITE adj) Analogous words: *converse, reverse contrary adj 1 antithetical, *opposite, contradictory, antonymous, antipodal, antipodean Analogous words: divergent, disparate,… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • contrary — [kän′trer΄ē; ] for adj.4, often [ kən trer′ē] adj. [ME contrarie < OFr contraire < L contrarius, opposite, opposed < contra, against] 1. opposed; in opposition [contrary to the rules] 2. opposite in nature, order, direction, etc.;… …   English World dictionary

  • Contrary — may refer to: Contrary motion, in music theory Contrary Magazine, a literary journal founded at the University of Chicago Contrary (social role), in certain Amerindian cultures Contrary (comics), a character from Malibu Comics Ultraverse Little… …   Wikipedia

  • contrary — 1. The position of the main stress has fluctuated over the centuries, and the OED notes that poets from Chaucer to Spenser and Shakespeare placed it on both the first and the second syllable according to need. In current English, the stress is… …   Modern English usage

  • Contrary — Con tra*ry, n.; pl. {Contraries}. 1. A thing that is of contrary or opposite qualities. [1913 Webster] No contraries hold more antipathy Than I and such a knave. Shak. [1913 Webster] 2. An opponent; an enemy. [Obs.] Chaucer. [1913 Webster] 3. the …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • contrary — ► ADJECTIVE 1) opposite in nature, direction, or meaning. 2) (of two or more statements, beliefs, etc.) opposed to one another. 3) perversely inclined to do the opposite of what is expected or desired. ► NOUN (the contrary) ▪ the opposite. ● …   English terms dictionary

  • Contrary — Con tra*ry, v. t. [F. contrarier. See {Contrary}, a.] To contradict or oppose; to thwart. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] I was advised not to contrary the king. Bp. Latimer. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • contrary to — what we had predicted, the lemon potatoes were very popular Syn: in conflict with, against, at variance with, at odds with, in opposition to, counter to, incompatible with …   Thesaurus of popular words