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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

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A Word A Day contentious

Good afternoon Netizens.,,,

April 13, 2013

Word of the Day

  • contentious
  • audio pronunciation
  • \kun-TEN-shuss\


: likely to cause disagreement or argument
: exhibiting an often perverse and wearisome tendency to quarrels and disputes

Although she is very pleasant in person, Katie has a tendency to become aggressive and contentious in online discussions.

"The issue of affordable housing in New Jersey, one of the nation's most densely populated states, has been contentious for decades…." — From an article by Anthony Campisi, The Star-Ledger (Newark, New Jersey), January 28, 2013


"Contentious" ultimately derives from the Latin verb "contendere," meaning "to strive" or "to contend." But we won't make you work hard for (or argue about) synonyms for "contentious." "Belligerent," "bellicose," "pugnacious," and "quarrelsome" can all be used, in addition to "contentious," when you want to express that someone or something has an aggressive or fighting attitude. "Contentious" implies a perverse and irritating fondness for arguing and quarreling, whereas "belligerent" often suggests being actually at war or engaged in hostilities ("belligerent nations"). "Bellicose" implies a disposition to fight ("a drunk in a bellicose mood"). "Pugnacious" suggests a disposition that takes pleasure in personal combat ("a pugnacious gangster"). "Quarrelsome" stresses an ill-natured readiness to fight without good cause ("the heat made us all quarrelsome").

From Merriam-Webster Online at



Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.