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Definition causing or likely to cause disagreement; or argumentative
  • We started with the most contentious item on the agenda.
contentious = likely to cause disagreement
  • It's a contentious and complicated issue that I think should be discussed at a separate meeting.
  • contentious = likely to cause disagreement
  • It is a central and contentious element of the book.
  • An old man, afflicted with a family of contentious Sons, brought in a bundle of sticks and asked the young men to break it.
    Aesop  --  Fables
  • "Ain't got no mother," was the answer, "and their paw's right contentious."
    Harper Lee  --  To Kill a Mockingbird
  • contentious = argumentative
  • It is the beauty of small areas of order—a large yard, a group of trees, three similar dormitories, a circle of old houses—living together in contentious harmony.
    John Knowles  --  A Separate Peace
  • contentious = causing or likely to cause disagreement
  • "'It is better,'" I recited piously, "'to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house with a contentious woman."
    Katherine Paterson  --  Jacob Have I Loved
  • contentious = argumentative or likely to cause disagreement
  • Now, eight years after her contentious funeral ... he changed his mind.
    Toni Morrison  --  Beloved
  • contentious = combative (involving argument or heated differences)
  • "Samuel," she said, "you're the most contentious man this world has ever seen."
    John Steinbeck  --  East of Eden
  • contentious = argumentative
  • this contentious storm
    William Shakespeare  --  King Lear
  • contentious = argumentative or likely to cause disagreement
  • the contentious waves
    William Shakespeare  --  The Tempest
  • contentious = causing difficulty
  • PARRIS: Giles Corey, sir, and a more contentious
    Arthur Miller  --  The Crucible
  • contentious = argumentative
  • Don't pay no 'tention to Lula, she's contentious because Reverend Sykes threatened to church her.
    Harper Lee  --  To Kill a Mockingbird
  • contentious = argumentative
  • His countenance had, perhaps for years, become so set in its contentious expression that it did not soften, even now when he was quiet.
    Dickens, Charles  --  Bleak House
  • Great wisdom is generous; petty wisdom is contentious.
  • The pair were speeding away into the distant gray by the time that the contentious revellers became aware of what had happened.
    Hardy, Thomas  --  Tess of the d'Urbervilles - A Pure Woman
  • The purpose of the assignment is to instill a degree of contentiousness on the part of the one driving the car.
    Robert Ludlum  --  The Bourne Ultimatum
  • (Editor's note:  The suffix "-ness" converts an adjective to a noun that means state or degree of. This is the same pattern you see in words like darkness, kindness, and coolness.)
  • He pointed directly to the contentious blond girl in back with the cell phone.
    Dan Brown  --  The Lost Symbol
  • Their relationship was sometimes contentious.
    Warren St. John  --  Outcasts United
  • THE AMERICAN League Championship was so hotly contentious that year, I could barely stand to watch the games.
    Piper Kerman  --  Orange Is the New Black

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