March 18, 2015
controvertible \KAHN-truh-ver-tuh-bul\ adjective: capable of being disputed or opposed by reason
“A key piece of evidence was foundat last: a copy of John of Balliol‘s words of homage and of feudalrecognition to Edward I. Becausethese words had been formally drawnup by a notary public, theyconstituted firm and not-readilycontrovertible evidence.” — HuntJanin, Medieval Justice: Cases and Laws in France, England and Germany, 500-1500, 2004
“There are two sisters…. Eachpossesses a ferociously ‘true‘ versionof a shared childhood scene. All these decades later, the sisters stillcan’t agree, still won’t agree…. One sister has to be right, and one sisterhas to be wrong—the 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. Bothwords are direct descendants of controvert (“to dispute or oppose by reasoning“), which dates back to 1584 in English and itself derivesfrom controversy. Controvertible was documented in print as early as 1610, and incontrovertible turned up around thirty years later. Controversycomes 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 pastparticiple of vertere (“to turn“).