Contravene vs contradict

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Contravene and contradict are two words that are often confused. We will examine the definitions of contravene and contradict, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Contravene means to act in violation of the law, to commit an offense against the law, to fail to comply with a public order, to violate or breach a provision in the law or a ruling of a court, to disobey the orders of a judge. In legal terms, contravention means violating a legal obligation or legal condition. In addition, no judge may make a ruling that contravenes the constitutional rights of an individual, just as no legislature may pass legislation or enact a statute that violates the Constitution or is contrary to the human rights that it guarantees. For instance, no law may be passed or ruling handed down by a judge that is in conflict with due process, freedom of association, freedom of speech, freedom of the press or any other human rights and freedoms. Sometimes a law is interpreted in different ways and there is some debate as to whether it contravenes the Constitution. Contravene may also refer to conduct that one refuses to adhere to when being granted a license, a treaty or other contract that involves a code of conduct. Contravene may also mean to be inconsistent, difficult or contrary, to oppose an argument. Synonyms for contravene that may be found in a thesaurus are: breach, interfere, disobey, defy, impugn. Contravene is a transitive verb, related words are contravenes, contravened, contravening, contravention. The word contravene is derived from the Middle French word contravenir, which means to oppose or to transgress.

Contradict means to make a statement that is opposed to a previous statement, to make a statement that is argumentative, to make an objection, to participate in a disagreement, to assert that something is incorrect or at odds with a previous idea. One may contradict someone in order to point out an incongruity in an argument, a lack of consistency in someone’s logic, or a discrepancy. Sometimes a listener may assume the speaker means one thing when in reality, he means another. Semantics can contribute to an intellectual judgement that is incorrect. In some instances, the same speaker may make one or more statements that contradict each other. This can be frustrating. Synonyms for contradict that may be found in a thesaurus are: deny, disagree, refute, incompatible, conflicting, contrary to, inconsistent. Contradict is a transitive verb, related words are contradicts, contradicted, contradicting, contradiction, contradictory. The word contradict is derived from the Latin phrase  contra dicere, which means to speak against.


However, retention permission was granted by the council as they did not contravene the zoning and development objectives for those areas. (The Irish Examiner)

The third national car project does not contravene the government’s policy to reduce traffic congestion in the country, says International Trade and Industry Minister Ignatius Darell Leiking. (The New Straits Times)

We normally react and respond to any moves that contradict and contravene peaceful coexistence, human rights and fundamental freedoms. (The Sudan Tribune)

Still, such testimony by Cohen, a longtime fixer for the former property developer and reality-show celebrity, would contradict the testimony and public denials of the president, his son, and other campaign officials who’ve repeatedly said the president wasn’t aware of the Trump Tower meeting until more than a year later. (The San Francisco Chronicle)

But some economists say recent economic moves seem contradictory to realizing those goals and that new regulations governing the island’s private sector also fly in the face of meeting the island’s economic challenges. (The Miami Herald)