adversary

noun
ad·​ver·​sary | \ ˈad-vər-ˌser-ē How to pronounce adversary (audio) , ˈad-və-, -ˌse-rē \
plural adversaries

Definition of adversary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: one that contends with, opposes, or resists : an enemy or opponent a clever adversary

adversary

adjective

Definition of adversary (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or involving an enemy or adversary
2 : having or involving antagonistic parties or opposing interests Divorce can be an adversary proceeding.

Other Words from adversary

Noun

adversariness noun

Did you know?

Adversary comes from Latin advertere, meaning "to turn toward." The vertere of advertere means "to turn" and is the source of a number of English words. Along with obvious derivatives like inadvertent and adverse are some surprises, including anniversary, vertebra, and prose (this last coming by way of a Latin contraction of a form of the verb provertere, meaning "to turn forward").

Examples of adversary in a Sentence

Noun He's a very smart criminal who pushes emotional buttons to get what he wants. He's quite a worthy adversary for Mac and the team. TV Guide, 2-8 June 2008 American diplomacy after World War II exemplified the soundness of this principle. We put our power at the disposal of all who cherished freedom and peace. We did things for others they couldn't do for themselves. We defended others, yes, but we also forgave our former enemies and helped reconcile old adversaries, such as France and Germany. — Colin L. Powell, Wilson Quarterly, Summer 2004 Nike's adversary was an amorphous group of disgruntled consumers connected by a decentralized network of e-mail addresses. Although the press has presented my battle with Nike as a David versus Goliath parable, the real story is the battle between a company like Nike, with access to the mass media, and a network of citizens on the Internet … — Jonah Peretti, Nation, 9 Apr. 2001 Not perfected until the eve of World War I, this small boat cruised on the surface with a diesel engine that also charged the batteries that powered the submarine's electric motors for submerged operation. If it spotted an adversary, the submarine would dive, either to escape or attack. — Archer Jones, Elements of Military Strategy, 1996 His political adversaries tried to prevent him from winning the nomination. our old cat seemed to consider the new kitten an adversary Adjective The quest for air superiority would come to include strikes on adversary airfields, but only as part of a larger effort also involving such staples as defensive fighter interception, offensive air sweeps, and escort missions with bombers designed to draw enemy fighters into battle. — John Prados, MHQ : The Quarterly Journal of Military History, Spring 1996 Critics of military justice complain that it is not a true adversary system because the JAG has authority over judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys and controls the funds of each. — Fred Strasser, National Law Journal, 4 Mar. 1991 there was a long history of adversary dealings between the two nations
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The pair moved on to our other authoritarian adversary: China. Nr Staff, National Review, 13 Jan. 2022 Chamisa, a 40-year-old lawyer running on an anti-corruption, pro-employment platform, is obviously the people’s candidate, but can his team buck the dirty tricks and ballot-stuffing of his adversary? Thr Staff, The Hollywood Reporter, 7 Jan. 2022 Perhaps nowhere is that feeling more acute than in Germany, rebuilt from the ashes of World War II, thanks in no small measure to the helping hand extended by its former adversary, the United States. Laura King, Los Angeles Times, 4 Jan. 2022 But a job from his old adversary, police lieutenant Bill Henniman, means Russ might be able to pay his overdue rent and make a dent in his credit card payment. Oline H. Cogdill, sun-sentinel.com, 30 Nov. 2021 Researchers don’t yet understand why our antibodies aim for the most changeable part of our adversary. Matthew Hutson, The New Yorker, 22 Nov. 2021 And China, which Manchin highlights as America’s main global adversary, does not think this way. Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic, 22 Dec. 2021 This year, Taylor Swift began releasing note-for-note re-recordings of her early albums in a bid to reclaim control of her catalog after her adversary Scooter Braun assumed ownership of her masters and sold them to an investment fund. New York Times, 22 Dec. 2021 Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin are not coming in person, so Biden will not have a chance to engage directly with either adversary. Washington Post, 30 Oct. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Kennedy shows similar backpedaling when discussing his complicated relationship with Derrick Bell, a former Harvard Law professor and pioneer of critical race theory, whom Kennedy considered a mentor, friend and — perhaps most notably — adversary. Washington Post, 10 Sep. 2021 Jarman faces the ultimate, inevitable adversary head on. The Economist, 23 May 2020 Kristen Wiig will star as famous Wonder Woman adversary Cheetah, while The Mandalorian‘s Pedro Pascal will play comic book villain Maxwell Lord. Nick Romano, EW.com, 9 Dec. 2019 In the story's boldest stroke of gallows humor, Joe and a fallen adversary croon softly together to a song on the radio, two souls improbably united by the strange, terrible intimacy of professional murder. Justin Chang, latimes.com, 5 Apr. 2018 At the same time, Trump's tirades against trade deals with nations like China played into a belief among many people that such pacts had hollowed out the American dream, while building middle classes lives for citizens of adversary nations. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 28 Sep. 2017 In oral arguments via telephone Tuesday, a panel of three appellate judges pressed both Purcell and adversary August Flentje, special counsel to the assistant U.S. attorney general, for additional evidence to back up their claims. Marisa Kendall, The Mercury News, 9 Feb. 2017 The measure would bar the Pentagon from buying satellite services if there is a threat that they could be compromised by cyber vulnerabilities or because they are launched by or contained parts from adversary nations. John M. Donnelly, The Seattle Times, 20 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'adversary.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of adversary

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for adversary

Noun

Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Middle English adversaire, adversarie, borrowed from Anglo-French adverser, adverserie, borrowed from Latin adversārius, noun derivative from adversārius "opposed (to), inimical, adverse," from adversus "turned toward, facing" + -ārius -ary entry 2 — more at adverse

Adjective

earlier, "opposed, antagonistic," going back to Middle English adversarie, borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin adversārius — more at adversary entry 1

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Time Traveler for adversary

Time Traveler

The first known use of adversary was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near adversary

adversarial

adversary

adversative

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Statistics for adversary

Last Updated

17 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Adversary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/adversary. Accessed 25 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for adversary

adversary

noun
ad·​ver·​sary | \ ˈad-vər-ˌser-ē How to pronounce adversary (audio) \
plural adversaries

Kids Definition of adversary

adversary

noun
ad·​ver·​sary | \ ˈad-vər-ˌser-ē How to pronounce adversary (audio) \

Legal Definition of adversary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: one that contends with or opposes another especially : any of the opposing parties in a legal action

adversary

adjective

Legal Definition of adversary (Entry 2 of 2)

: of, relating to, or involving opposing parties or interests specifically : of, relating to, or involving a system of justice in which opposing parties usually represented by counsel present evidence to an impartial decision-maker (as a jury) by a process of questioning witnesses under the supervision of a judge — compare accusatorial, inquisitorial

More from Merriam-Webster on adversary

Nglish: Translation of adversary for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of adversary for Arabic Speakers

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