Use contrary when two things are exactly opposite or entirely different. If something is contrary to something else, it is opposed to or against it.

A contrary child is one who opposes people in authority. As a noun, the contrary means the opposite, as in "We will not give up; on the contrary, we will fight with all our power." The adjective contrary derives from Latin contrarius ("opposite, opposed") from contra ("against").

Definitions of contrary

n exact opposition

“public opinion to the contrary he is not guilty”
Type of:
oppositeness, opposition
the relation between opposed entities

n a relation of direct opposition

opposite, reverse
Type of:
oppositeness, opposition
the relation between opposed entities

n a logical relation such that two propositions are contraries if both cannot be true but both can be false

Type of:
logical relation
a relation between propositions

adj in an opposing direction

“a contrary wind”
unfavorable, unfavourable
(of winds or weather) tending to hinder or oppose

adj very opposed in nature or character or purpose

“acts contrary to our code of ethics”
“the facts point to a contrary conclusion”
unlike in nature, quality, form, or degree

adj resistant to guidance or discipline

“Mary Mary quite contrary
obstinate, perverse, wayward
not obeying or complying with commands of those in authority

adj of words or propositions so related that both cannot be true but both may be false

“`hot' and `cold' are contrary terms”
of words: having opposite meanings

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