Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


noun en·mi·ty \ˈen-mə-tē\

Simple Definition of enmity

  • : a very deep unfriendly feeling

Full Definition of enmity

plural en·mi·ties

  1. :  positive, active, and typically mutual hatred or ill will

Examples of enmity

  1. Bin Laden may no longer be supplying directions and funding, but his ethos of enmity lives on. —Michael Hirsh et al., Newsweek, 10 June 2002

  2. What has earned her the enmity of so many peers is her indiscriminate outspokenness. —Karen Springer, Newsweek, 10 June 1996

  3. Battles over slavery in the territories broke the second party system apart and then shaped a realigned system that emphasized sectional enmity. —Mary Beth Norton et al., A People and a Nation, 1988

  4. There's a long history of enmity between them.

  5. His comments earned him the enmity of his coworkers.

  6. We need to put aside old enmities for the sake of peace.

Origin of enmity

Middle English enmite, from Anglo-French enemité, enemisté, from enemi enemy

First Known Use: 13th century

Synonym Discussion of enmity

enmity, hostility, antipathy, antagonism, animosity, rancor, animus mean deep-seated dislike or ill will. enmity suggests positive hatred which may be open or concealed <an unspoken enmity>. hostility suggests an enmity showing itself in attacks or aggression <hostility between the two nations>. antipathy and antagonism imply a natural or logical basis for one's hatred or dislike, antipathy suggesting repugnance, a desire to avoid or reject, and antagonism suggesting a clash of temperaments leading readily to hostility <a natural antipathy for self-seekers> <antagonism between the brothers>. animosity suggests intense ill will and vindictiveness that threaten to kindle hostility <animosity that led to revenge>. rancor is especially applied to bitter brooding over a wrong <rancor filled every line of his letters>. animus adds to animosity the implication of strong prejudice <objections devoid of personal animus>.

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up enmity? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 8, 2016

to clear from accusation or blame

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?

duvet spindrift pince-nez kittly-benders
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.