Difficult Words : Contentious, Consummate, Contiguous, Contingent, Contrite and Contrived

Difficult Words: Contentious, Consummate, Contiguous, Contingent, Contrite and Contrived

Consummate (kun SUM it) adj: perfect; complete; supremely skillful

A consummate pianist is an extremely good one. Nothing is lacking from the way he or she plays.

Consummate (KON suh MATE) is also a verb. Notice the different pronunciation. To consummate something is to finish it or make it complete.

Signing a contract would consummate an agreement.


Contentious (kun TEN shus) adj: argumentative; quarrelsome

A person looking for a fight is contentious.

Two people having a fight are contentious.

To be contentious in a discussion is to make a lot of noisy objections.

A contender is a fighter. To contend is to fight or argue for something.

Someone who breaks the law may have to contend with the law.


Contiguous (kun TIG yoo us) adj: side by side; adjoining

Two countries that share a border are contiguous. So are two events that happened one right after the other.

If two countries are contiguous, the territory they cover is continuous.

That is, it spreads or continues across both countries without any interruption.


Contingent (KUN TIN junt) adj: dependent; possible

Our agreement to buy their house is contingent upon the sellers' finding another house to move into. That is, they won't sell their house to us unless they can find another house to buy.

My contingency is possibility or something that may happen but is at least as likely not to happen. Several contingencies stand between us and the successful completion of our business. Several things could happen to screw it up.

The Joneses were prepared for any contingency. Their front hall closet contained a first aid kit, a fire extinguisher, a life raft, a parachute and a pack of sled dogs.


Contrite (kun TRITE) adj: admitting guilt; especially feeling remorseful

To be contrite is to admit whatever terrible thing you did.

Sally was contrite about her mistake, so we forgave her.

A criminal who won't confess his crime is not contrite.

Saying that you’re sorry is an act of contrition.


Contrived (kun TRI vd) adj: common; customary; unexceptional

The architect's conventional designs didn't win him awards for originality.

Tipping the waiter in a restaurant is a conventional courtesy.

Conventional wisdom is what everyone thinks.

The bland Politician maintained his popularity by never straying far from the conventional wisdom about any topic.

Go to The Difficult Words Index

Letter of Invitation| Letter of Condolence| Business Letters

Synonyms and Antonyms

Vocabulary| English Teacher| Etymology| Longest Word | Letter Writing

Proverbs| Misspelled Words| Contractions

From Contentious to HOME PAGE