- of, relating to, or characteristic of controversy, or prolonged public dispute, debate, or contention; polemical: a controversial book.
- subject to controversy; debatable: a controversial decision.
- given to controversy; argumentative; disputatious: a controversial public figure.
- not causing dispute, argument, debate, etc
adj.1580s, from Late Latin controversialis “pertaining to controversy,” from Latin controversia (see controversy).