Build your vocabulary with Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day! Each day a Merriam-Webster editor offers insight into a fascinating new word -- explaining its meaning, current use, and little-known details about its origin.
March 18th, 2015
Episode 139 of 797 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for March 18, 2015 is: controvertible \KAHN-truh-ver-tuh-bul\ adjective : capable of being disputed or opposed by reason Examples: "A key piece of evidence was found at last: a copy of John of Balliol's words of homage and of feudal recognition to Edward I. Because these words had been formally drawn up by a notary public, they constituted firm and not-readily controvertible evidence." Hunt Janin, Medieval Justice: Cases and Laws in France, England and Germany, 500-1500, 2004 "There are two sisters. Each possesses a ferociously 'true' version of a shared childhood scene. All these decades later, the sisters still can't agree, still won't agree. One sister has to be right, and one sister has to be wrongthe proof is controvertible. How would you know who is telling the truth?" Beth Kephart, Chicago Tribune, November 21, 2013 Did you know? If you're familiar with incontrovertible, you may have wondered about the existence of controvertible. Both words are direct descendants of controvert ("to dispute or oppose by reasoning"), which dates back to 1584 in English and itself derives from controversy. Controvertible was documented in print as early as 1610, and incontrovertible turned up around thirty years later. Controversy comes to us (through Anglo-French) from the Latin controversus, meaning "disputable," and can ultimately be traced back to the Latin contro- ("against") and versus, the past participle of vertere ("to turn").