English

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Etymology

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Latin controversia (controversy) + -al; see controversy.

Pronunciation

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Adjective

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controversial (comparative more controversial, superlative most controversial)

  1. Arousing controversy—a debate or discussion of opposing opinions.
    • 1849–1861, Thomas Babington Macaulay, The History of England from the Accession of James the Second, volumes (please specify |volume=I to V), London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, →OCLC:
      Whole libraries of controversial books.
    • 2021 September 16, Bill Maher, 7:52 from the start, in Bill Maher on Getting Anger from Both Sides, Our Divided Country & Norm Macdonald’s Passing[1], Jimmy Kimmel Live!:
      MAHER: Well, whatever. I just said we shouldn't have two national anthems. We're one country. It's not a good idea. We've seen what happens in other countries where you have, you know- when you separate things out. That's never where America was. That's never where liberalism was. It was about being a colorblind society. So, a new national anthem? Fine. I'll go for that. But not two. Because that leads down a road we don't wanna go. Applause.
      KIMMEL: Do you feel like...
      MAHER: Thank you.
      KIMMEL: Hey there's a lot of fear in the air and generally, you don't want to be caught applauding something that might be controversial.
      MAHER: I couldn't give a fuck.
      KIMMEL: I wasn't talking about you.

Synonyms

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Antonyms

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Collocations

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Translations

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Noun

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controversial (plural controversials)

  1. (rare) Someone or something that is controversial.
    • 1864, John Price, Old Price’s Remains; Præhumous, or During Life; Comprising, with Select Patches of “Birkenhead Shore,” Various Other Articles, Scientific and Literary, Grave and Gay, London: Virtue, Brothers, [], page 88:
      No fundamental doctrine was omitted. Controversials were carefully avoided. Whether any blessing attended these attempts, will be known at the last day.
    • 1961, Alison Adburgham, A Punch History of Manners and Modes, 1841–1940, London: Hutchinson & Co., page 39:
      Blowing like a blast of fresh astringent air into the hot-house atmosphere of these vapid languors, came news from America of a Rational Dress Campaign. Mrs. Amelia Bloomer’s conspicuous controversials were a wonderful gift to Punch, and were welcomed with enthusiasm and joyful derision by the cartoonists []
    • 1993, Harold Meyerson, Ernie Harburg, with Arthur Perlman, Who Put the Rainbow in The Wizard of Oz? Yip Harburg, Lyricist, Ann Arbor, Mich.: The University of Michigan Press, →ISBN, page 357:
      Napoleon’s a pastry / Get this under your brow / All those big wig controversials / Are all commercials now.
    • 1997, Michael Siegal, Knowing Children: Experiments in Conversation and Cognition (Essays in Developmental Psychology), 2nd edition, Hove, East Sussex: Psychology Press, Taylor & Francis, →ISBN, page 116:
      Although the numbers of controversial children were few, their finely tuned distinction between types of transgression concurs with the observation that the behaviour of controversials is highly skilled. While the behaviour of controversial children may often meet with negative reactions from peers and reprimands from adults, controversials may engage in even more prosocial behaviour than do popular peers (Dodge, 1983).
    • 2000, J. D. Coie, K. A. Dodge, H. Coppotelli, “Dimensions and types of social status: a cross-age perspective”, in Peter K. Smith, A[nthony] D. Pellegrini, editors, Psychology of Education: Major Themes, volumes IV (Social behaviour and the school peer group), London, New York, N.Y.: RoutledgeFalmer, →ISBN, part XXI (Friendship, social competence), page 111:
      It would be interesting to know whether the leadership capacities with which the controversials are credited is a mitigating factor with respect to their risk potential.
    • 2016, Inga Carboni, Tiziana Casciaro, edited by Dejun Tony Kong and Donelson R[oss] Forsyth, Leading through Conflict: Into the Fray (Jepson Studies in Leadership), Palgrave Macmillan, →ISBN, page 122:
      One manager identified himself as a controversial, indicating both his formal role and confrontational style as reasons as to why he was both greatly liked and disliked. [] Lastly, a few managers suggested that controversials might have specific personality traits that make them liked by some and disliked by others.

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Further reading

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Spanish

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Pronunciation

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  • IPA(key): /kontɾobeɾˈsjal/ [kõn̪.t̪ɾo.β̞eɾˈsjal]
  • Rhymes: -al
  • Syllabification: con‧tro‧ver‧sial

Adjective

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controversial m or f (masculine and feminine plural controversiales)

  1. (Latin America) controversial
    Synonym: controvertido
    • 2015 December, “"Estamos en el comienzo de un reexamen del capitalismo"”, in El Pais (Uruguay)[2]:
      Esto comienza con los acuerdos de (protección de) inversión que han sido controversiales por cerca de veinte años.
      This starts with investment (protection) agreements that have been controversial for nearly twenty years.

Derived terms

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Further reading

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