I'm writing a speech on sexism, as it is a topic which quite often gives rise to disputes and heated discussions; is there an adjective to describe such a topic which does so?

  • Impassioned.......?
    – WS2
    Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 17:37
  • Informally, you might call that a hot button issue.
    – Gob Ties
    Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 19:43
  • Or just a hot potato. But admittedly, I've never seen this compound used attributively. Commented Oct 3, 2014 at 0:11

4 Answers 4


You could use controversial.

Per Merriam-Webster:

controversial adjective

: relating to or causing much discussion, disagreement, or argument : likely to produce controversy

Examples of Controversial

  • Abortion is a highly controversial subject.
  • a decision that remains controversial
  • He is a controversial author.

Some other alternatives would be:

  • contentious
  • disputed/disputable
  • polemical
  • Going with 'polemical.' The most appropriate for my purposes in terms of definition, and it fits in phonetically with the rest of my text. Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 16:44

Controversial:can convey the idea of an issue or argument, especially one concerning a matter about which there is strong disagreement and especially one carried on in public or in the press.

  • Of, producing, or marked by controversy: a controversial movie; a controversial stand on human rights.



Contentious is probably what you're looking for:

con·ten·tious adjective \kən-ˈten(t)-shəs\
: likely to cause people to argue or disagree
: involving a lot of arguing
: likely or willing to argue




(from GoogleSearch who appears to use the Oxford US English dictionary)



adjective adjective: incendiary

  1. tending to stir up conflict. "incendiary rhetoric" synonyms: inflammatory, rabble-rousing, provocative, seditious, subversive
  • Welcome to EL&U. Please cite your references and include a link if available; you may consult the help center for further guidance on the particularities of participation here.
    – choster
    Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 18:19

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.