Definition of controversial in English:


See synonyms for controversial

Translate controversial into Spanish


  • Giving rise or likely to give rise to public disagreement.

    ‘years of wrangling over a controversial bypass’
    • ‘Pay hikes awarded to council bosses mirror the highly controversial rises in council tax.’
    • ‘Ian Waugh looks at the rise of one of the country's most controversial political figures.’
    • ‘The debate over the use of cannabis in medicine is controversial and emotive.’
    • ‘It will now have to look at it again, but the controversial issue will first be debated at full Council.’
    • ‘Proving their controversial claim will be difficult for the two sisters, however.’
    • ‘Tackling these big and controversial issues early in the third term would make sense.’
    • ‘Over recent days the controversial issue of the politics of aid has begun to emerge.’
    • ‘She will be asked to find a solution over the controversial issue of a ban on hunting with dogs.’
    • ‘He was one of the most controversial figures in colonial religious and political history.’
    • ‘Anthony is a controversial figure and has a habit of saying things just to drum up a bit of publicity.’
    • ‘A public inquiry will rule on a controversial plan to site a wind farm on moors north of Bury.’
    • ‘The bid to put up the mast comes a week before a public meeting is to be held to discuss the controversial plan.’
    • ‘If an issue is controversial, relevant opinions as well as facts may need to be considered.’
    • ‘The project has become highly controversial due to the history and sensitivity of the site.’
    • ‘The event comes to the York area at a time when the issue of waste in the city was never more controversial.’
    • ‘Under the controversial plan all regiments would have at least two battalions.’
    • ‘He hardly ever seems to make his mind up about anything and he hates saying anything controversial.’
    • ‘It will be interesting to see whether this starts a spate of controversial videos in the next few months.’
    • ‘Now they have reversed the controversial decision after pressure from swimmers.’
    • ‘This year he also implemented a controversial policy of free school meals for all city children.’
    contentious, disputed, contended, at issue, moot, disputable, debatable, arguable, vexed, open to discussion, open to question, under discussion
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/ˌkäntrəˈvərsēəl/ /ˌkɑntrəˈvərsiəl/ /ˌkäntrəˈvərSH(ə)l/ /ˌkɑntrəˈvərʃ(ə)l/


Late 16th century from late Latin controversialis, from controversia (see controversy).