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Contrary vs. Contradictory: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 27, 2023
Contrary refers to opposing or differing opinions or things, while contradictory involves direct conflict, denying or contradicting each other.
Contrary vs. Contradictory

Key Differences

Contrary implies a relationship of opposition between two things or ideas, often representing a less extreme form of disagreement. Contradictory, however, denotes a stronger form of opposition where two statements or ideas negate or contradict each other, making both simultaneously true impossible.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 27, 2023
When using 'contrary,' it typically suggests an alternative perspective or a differing point of view. 'Contradictory' is used when two statements or propositions are in direct conflict, where the truth of one means the falsity of the other.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 27, 2023
The term 'contrary' often indicates a milder form of opposition, where two ideas or opinions may simply differ without necessarily invalidating each other. In contrast, 'contradictory' implies a higher degree of incompatibility, where two assertions cannot be true at the same time.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 27, 2023
Contrary positions can coexist without direct conflict; for example, preferring different genres of music is contrary but not contradictory. Contradictory statements, like saying it is both raining and not raining at the same time, are inherently conflicting.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 27, 2023
In philosophy and logic, 'contrary' refers to propositions that cannot be true together but can be false together. 'Contradictory' refers to propositions where if one is true, the other must be false, and vice versa.
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Comparison Chart

Nature

Opposing opinions or things
Directly conflicting statements
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Degree of Opposition

Less extreme, may not invalidate each other
Strong, mutually exclusive
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Coexistence

Can coexist without conflict
Cannot be true simultaneously
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Usage

Indicates alternative perspective
Indicates direct negation
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Logical Context

Can be false together
One true means the other is false
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Contrary and Contradictory Definitions

Contrary

Contrary can refer to something that is deliberately different to what is expected.
He took a contrary position in the debate to provoke further discussion.
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Contradictory

Contradictory means mutually opposed or inconsistent.
The two eyewitness accounts were contradictory.
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Contrary

Contrary describes a predisposition to oppose or act in a contrary way.
Her contrary response surprised everyone.
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Contradictory

Contradictory refers to a statement, proposition, or situation that contradicts itself.
Saying I always lie is a contradictory statement.
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Contrary

Opposed, as in character or purpose
Contrary opinions.
Acts that are contrary to our code of ethics.
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Contradictory

Contradictory implies a direct contradiction to something said or written.
His actions were contradictory to his promises.
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Contrary

Opposite in direction or position
Our boat took a course contrary to theirs.
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Oct 19, 2023

Contradictory

Contradictory can describe things that cannot both be true at the same time.
The theories are contradictory, only one can be correct.
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Contrary

(Music) Moving in the opposite direction at a fixed interval
Playing scales in contrary motion.
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Oct 19, 2023

Contradictory

Contradictory involves elements that are so opposed they cannot coexist.
Their views on the issue are utterly contradictory.
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Contrary

Adverse; unfavorable
A contrary wind.
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Oct 19, 2023

Contradictory

Involving, of the nature of, or being a contradiction
Contradictory reports about the vaccine's effectiveness.
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Oct 19, 2023

Contrary

(also kən-trârē) Given to recalcitrant behavior; willful or perverse.
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Oct 19, 2023

Contradictory

Given to contradicting
The contradictory council members often ended up squabbling.
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Oct 19, 2023

Contrary

Something that is opposite or contrary.
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Contradictory

Either of two propositions related in such a way that it is impossible for both to be true or both to be false.
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Contrary

Either of two opposing or contrary things
"Truth is perhaps ... a dynamic compound of opposites, savage contraries for a moment conjoined" (A. Bartlett Giamatti).
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Oct 19, 2023

Contradictory

That contradicts something, such as an argument.
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Contrary

(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.
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Oct 19, 2023

Contradictory

That is itself a contradiction.
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Contrary

In an opposite direction or manner; counter
The judge ruled contrary to all precedent in the case.
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Oct 19, 2023

Contradictory

That is diametrically opposed to something.
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Oct 19, 2023

Contrary

Opposite; in an opposite direction; in opposition; adverse.
Contrary winds
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Contradictory

Mutually exclusive.
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Contrary

Opposed; contradictory; inconsistent.
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Contradictory

Tending to contradict or oppose, contrarious.
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Oct 19, 2023

Contrary

Given to opposition; perverse; wayward.
A contrary disposition; a contrary child
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Oct 19, 2023

Contradictory

(logic) Either of a pair of propositions, that cannot both be true or both be false.
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Oct 19, 2023

Contrary

Contrarily
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Contradictory

Affirming the contrary; implying a denial of what has been asserted; also, mutually contradicting; inconsistent.
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Oct 19, 2023

Contrary

The opposite.
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Oct 19, 2023

Contradictory

Opposing or opposed; repugnant.
Schemes . . . contradictory to common sense.
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Oct 19, 2023

Contrary

(logic) One of a pair of propositions that cannot both be simultaneously true, though they may both be false.
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Oct 19, 2023

Contradictory

A proposition or thing which denies or opposes another; contrariety.
It is common with princes to will contradictories.
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Oct 19, 2023

Contrary

(obsolete) To oppose; to frustrate.
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Oct 19, 2023

Contradictory

Propositions with the same terms, but opposed to each other both in quality and quantity.
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Oct 19, 2023

Contrary

(obsolete) To impugn.
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Oct 19, 2023

Contradictory

Two propositions are contradictories if both cannot be true (or both cannot be false) at the same time
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Oct 19, 2023

Contrary

(obsolete) To contradict (someone or something).
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Oct 19, 2023

Contradictory

Of words or propositions so related that both cannot be true and both cannot be false;
`perfect' and `imperfect' are contradictory terms
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Oct 19, 2023

Contrary

(obsolete) To do the opposite of (someone or something).
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Oct 19, 2023

Contradictory

That confounds or contradicts or confuses
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Oct 19, 2023

Contrary

(obsolete) To act inconsistently or perversely; to act in opposition to.
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Oct 19, 2023

Contradictory

In disagreement;
The figures are at odds with our findings
Contradictory attributes of unjust justice and loving vindictiveness
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Oct 19, 2023

Contrary

(obsolete) To argue; to debate; to uphold an opposite opinion.
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Oct 19, 2023

Contradictory

Unable to be both true at the same time
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Contrary

(obsolete) To be self-contradictory; to become reversed.
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Contrary

Opposite; in an opposite direction; in opposition; adverse; as, contrary winds.
And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me.
We have lost our labor; they are gone a contrary way.
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Oct 19, 2023

Contrary

Opposed; contradictory; repugnant; inconsistent.
Fame, if not double-faced, is double mouthed,And with contrary blast proclaims most deeds.
The doctrine of the earth's motion appeared to be contrary to the sacred Scripture.
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Oct 19, 2023

Contrary

Given to opposition; perverse; forward; wayward; as, a contrary disposition; a contrary child.
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Oct 19, 2023

Contrary

Affirming the opposite; so opposed as to destroy each other; as, contrary propositions.
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Contrary

A thing that is of contrary or opposite qualities.
No contraries hold more antipathyThan I and such a knave.
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Oct 19, 2023

Contrary

An opponent; an enemy.
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Contrary

See Contraries.
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Contrary

To contradict or oppose; to thwart.
I was advised not to contrary the king.
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Oct 19, 2023

Contrary

A relation of direct opposition;
We thought Sue was older than Bill but just the reverse was true
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Contrary

Exact opposition;
Public opinion to the contrary he is not guilty
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Contrary

Two propositions are contraries if both cannot be true but both can be false
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Contrary

Very opposed in nature or character or purpose;
Acts contrary to our code of ethics
The facts point to a contrary conclusion
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Contrary

Of words or propositions so related that both cannot be true but both may be false;
`hot' and `cold' are contrary terms
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Contrary

Resistant to guidance or discipline;
Mary Mary quite contrary
An obstinate child with a violent temper
A perverse mood
Wayward behavior
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Oct 19, 2023

Contrary

In an opposing direction;
Adverse currents
A contrary wind
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Contrary

Contrary means opposite in nature or tendency.
Her optimistic outlook is contrary to his pessimism.
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Dec 27, 2023

Contrary

Contrary can mean a fact or condition incompatible with another.
The cold weather is contrary to the usual climate here.
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Contrary

Contrary is used to describe something that is opposite in direction.
The contrary winds made sailing difficult.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

Is 'contradictory' used for strong opposition?

Yes, contradictory is used when statements or ideas are in direct conflict and cannot both be true.
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Dec 27, 2023

Can 'contrary' imply a mild disagreement?

Yes, contrary can imply a mild or less extreme form of disagreement.
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Dec 27, 2023

What is a 'contradictory' statement?

A contradictory statement is one that directly conflicts with another, making them mutually exclusive.
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Dec 27, 2023

Are contradictory statements common in paradoxes?

Yes, paradoxes often involve contradictory statements that appear true but are mutually exclusive.
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Dec 27, 2023

What does 'contrary' mean?

Contrary refers to something opposite or different in nature, direction, or meaning.
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Dec 27, 2023

What happens when statements are contradictory?

When statements are contradictory, they negate each other, meaning they cannot both be true at the same time.
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Dec 27, 2023

Can contrary opinions coexist?

Yes, contrary opinions can coexist as they represent different perspectives or preferences.
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Dec 27, 2023

Can a person have a contrary nature?

Yes, a person with a contrary nature often opposes or does the opposite of what is expected.
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Dec 27, 2023

Are contrary opinions valuable in decision-making?

Yes, considering contrary opinions can lead to more informed and balanced decision-making.
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Dec 27, 2023

How do contrary views contribute to debates?

Contrary views introduce alternative perspectives and stimulate broader discussion in debates.
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How are 'contrary' and 'contradictory' used in logic?

In logic, contrary refers to propositions that can't be true together but can be false together, whereas contradictory propositions are such that if one is true, the other must be false.
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Dec 27, 2023

Do contradictory laws create legal conflicts?

Yes, contradictory laws can lead to legal ambiguities and conflicts that may require judicial resolution.
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Dec 27, 2023

Are contradictory statements problematic in research?

Yes, contradictory statements in research can indicate errors or the need for further investigation.
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Dec 27, 2023

Is it possible to resolve contradictory points?

Resolving contradictory points often involves finding which statement is false or reevaluating the context.
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Dec 27, 2023

How do contradictory elements affect arguments?

Contradictory elements in arguments usually indicate a flaw or inconsistency that needs addressing.
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Dec 27, 2023

Can a debate have both contrary and contradictory points?

Yes, a debate can have both contrary points (different perspectives) and contradictory points (mutually exclusive arguments).
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Can a person's behavior be contrary to their beliefs?

Yes, a person's behavior can be contrary to their beliefs, indicating a difference between what they profess and what they practice.
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Dec 27, 2023

What is the significance of identifying contradictory evidence in science?

Identifying contradictory evidence in science is crucial for challenging and refining theories or hypotheses.
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Dec 27, 2023

Can literature feature contrary themes?

Yes, literature can feature contrary themes, presenting opposing ideas or viewpoints.
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Dec 27, 2023

How do philosophers use the term 'contrary'?

Philosophers use 'contrary' to describe opposing concepts or arguments that are not necessarily mutually exclusive.
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Dec 27, 2023

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Shumaila Saeed
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Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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