contraries


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con·trar·y

 (kŏn′trĕr′ē)
adj.
1. Opposed, as in character or purpose: contrary opinions; acts that are contrary to our code of ethics.
2. Opposite in direction or position: Our boat took a course contrary to theirs. See Synonyms at opposite.
3. Music Moving in the opposite direction at a fixed interval: playing scales in contrary motion.
4. Adverse; unfavorable: a contrary wind.
5. (also kən-trâr′ē) Given to recalcitrant behavior; willful or perverse.
n. pl. con·trar·ies
1. Something that is opposite or contrary.
2. Either of two opposing or contrary things: "Truth is perhaps ... a dynamic compound of opposites, savage contraries for a moment conjoined" (A. Bartlett Giamatti).
3. Logic A proposition related to another in such a way that if the latter is true, the former must be false, but if the latter is false, the former is not necessarily true.
adv.
In an opposite direction or manner; counter: The judge ruled contrary to all precedent in the case.
Idioms:
by contraries Obsolete
In opposition to what is expected.
on the contrary
In opposition to what has been stated or what is expected: I'm not sick; on the contrary, I'm in the peak of health.
to the contrary
To the opposite effect from what has been stated or what is expected: Despite what you say to the contrary, this contract is fair.

[Middle English contrarie, from Anglo-Norman, from Latin contrārius : contrā, against; see kom in Indo-European roots + -ārius, -ary.]

con′trar′i·ly (kŏn′trĕr′ə-lē, kən-trâr′-) adv.
con′trar′i·ness n.
References in classic literature ?
Meg observed it, but did not trouble herself to make inquiries, for she had learned that the best way to manage Jo was by the law of contraries, so she felt sure of being told everything if she did not ask.
there is in pocket-handkerchief nature a disposition to act by contraries.
But, perhaps, the true reason is to be sought in the spirit of the age, which proceeds by the rule of contraries altogether, and is now usually admitted as the solution of every thing in the way of paradox and impossibility.