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Controversy is a state of prolonged public dispute or debate usually concerning a matter of opinion.


  • I am continually fascinated at the difficulty intelligent people have in distinguishing what is controversial from what is merely offensive.
  • Nora Ephron "Barney Collier's Book," Esquire (January 1976); republished in Scribble, Scribble (1978), ch. 10
  • Controversy equalizes fools and wise men — and the fools know it.
  • The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
  • The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way.
    • Bertrand Russell, "An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish", Unpopular Essays (1950).

Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)[edit]

Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).
  • When men differ in any matter of belief, let them meet each other manfully.
  • No great advance has ever been made in science, politics, or religion, without controversy.
  • It is humbling to mankind to contemplate men capable of grasping eternal truths, fencing and debating in trivialities, like gladiators fighting with flies.
  • Doubtless there are times when controversy becomes a necessary evil. But let us remember that it is an evil.

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