AskDefine | Define controvert

Dictionary Definition



1 be resistant to; "The board opposed his motion" [syn: oppose, contradict]
2 prove to be false or incorrect [syn: refute, rebut]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. To dispute or argue using reason.
  2. To be involved or engaged in controversy.

Extensive Definition

A controversy or dispute occurs when parties actively disagree, argue about, or debate, a matter of opinion. Controversies can range in size from private disputes between two individuals to large-scale disagreements between societies.
Perennial areas of controversy include religion, philosophy and politics. Controversy in matters of theology has traditionally been particularly heated, giving rise to the phrase odium theologicum. Controversial issues are held as potentially divisive in a given society, because they can lead to tension and ill will. Some controversies are considered taboo to many people, unless a society can find a common ground to share and discuss its people's feelings on a certain controversial issue.
Benford's law of controversy, as expressed by science-fiction author Gregory Benford in 1980, states "Passion is inversely proportional to the amount of real information available."

In law

In the theory of law, a controversy differs from a legal case; while the latter includes all suits, criminal as well as civil, a controversy is a purely civil proceeding.
For example, the Case or Controversy Clause of Article Three of the United States Constitution (Section 2, Clause 1) states that "the judicial Power shall extend ... to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party". This clause has been deemed to impose a requirement that United States federal courts are not permitted to hear cases that do not pose an actual controversy—that is, an actual dispute between adverse parties which is capable of being resolved by the court. In addition to setting out the scope of the jurisdiction of the federal judiciary, it also prohibits courts from issuing advisory opinions, or from hearing cases that are either unripe, meaning that the controversy has not arisen yet, or moot, meaning that the controversy has already been resolved.
Amount in controversy is a term in United States civil procedure to denote a requirement that persons seeking to bring a lawsuit in a particular court must be suing for a certain minimum amount before that court may hear the case.

In early Christianity

Many of the early Christian writers, among them Irenaeus, Athanasius, and Jerome, were famed as "controversialists"; they wrote works against perceived heresy or heretical individuals, works whose titles begin "Adversus..." such as Irenaeus' Adversus haereses. The Christian writers inherited from the classical rhetors the conviction that controversial confrontations, even over trivial matters, were a demonstration of intellectual superiority. See Christian theological controversy.
controvert in Bulgarian: Спор
controvert in German: Kontroverse
controvert in Estonian: Vaidlus
controvert in Spanish: Controversia
controvert in French: Controverse
controvert in Hebrew: מחלוקת
controvert in Portuguese: Controvérsia
controvert in Simple English: Controversy
controvert in Yiddish: מחלוקת

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

abjure, air, analyze, answer, answer conclusively, argue down, assert the contrary, be at cross-purposes, be contrary to, be opposed to, belie, break, call into question, canvass, challenge, clash, comment upon, conflict, conflict with, confound, confute, consider, contest, contradict, contrapose, contrast with, contravene, counter, counteract, counterbalance, countercheck, counterpoise, counterpose, countervail, counterwork, cross, crush, deal with, debate, defeat, deliberate, deliberate upon, demolish, deny, disaffirm, disallow, disavow, disclaim, disconfirm, discourse about, discuss, dismiss, disown, dispose of, disprove, dispute, evert, examine, exchange views, finish, floor, forswear, gainsay, go into, handle, impugn, investigate, join issue upon, juxtapose in opposition, knock around, negate, nonplus, not accept, not admit, nullify, offset, oppose, oppugn, overthrow, overturn, overwhelm, parry, pass under review, play at cross-purposes, put to silence, question, rap, reason, reason about, reason the point, rebut, recant, reduce to silence, refuse to admit, refute, reject, renounce, repudiate, retract, review, revoke, run counter to, set off, settle, shut up, sift, silence, smash all opposition, squash, squelch, study, subvert, take back, take issue with, take up, talk, talk about, talk of, talk over, thresh out, traverse, treat, undermine, upset, ventilate
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