Four Words for “Contradiction” in Arabic


root: ق-ط-ر / noun / plural: قِطارات / definition: train

I’m back in London as of Sunday and I’m relieved. It feels much less… claustrophobic. The two-hour train journey here was neither fun nor productive though, because although I had planned to get some dissertation reading done on the journey, I only managed about five pages before my travel sickness overwhelmed me and I succumbed to staring into space for the rest of the journey.

Ah well.

This week we’ve got a little collection of synonyms to look at—four nouns that mean “contradiction”:


تناقض is the verbal noun (مصدر) of the form VI verb تَناقَضَ / يَتَناقَضُ from the root ن-ق-ض.

Actually, every word in this list is a form VI derivative because this verb form denotes mutuality, i.e. the form VI verbs mean “to contradict each other”.

(Note: our last synonym post was all about form VI verbs!)


As you might have guessed, this word is derived from the same root as the one above.

متناقض is the active participle (اسم فاعل) of form VI, and—like other active participles—can be used as both a noun (meaning “contradiction”) and adjective (“contradictory”).


تعارض is the verbal noun of the form VI verb تَعارَضَ / يَتَعارَضُ, from the root ع-ر-ض.


And finally, we have تضارب, another form VI verbal noun from the root ض-ر-ب.

(ض-ر-ب is a very interesting root, by the way, so many meanings…)

To form the plural of these words (i.e. meaning “contradictions”), we simply add ـات:

  • تناقضات
  • متناقضات
  • تعارضات
  • تضاربات

And have you noticed that all of these synonyms contain the letter ض?

Common letters among synonyms is something we’ve come across before on this blog (like in this synonyms post, for instance, or Arabic Observations: Same Root Letters, Different Sequence)—makes you wonder about the link between phonology and semantics right?

That’s all for now, مع السلامة!

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