adversary

noun
ad·​ver·​sary | \ˈad-vər-ˌser-ē, 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.

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Other Words from adversary

Noun

adversariness noun

Did You Know?

Noun

If you've ever had someone turn on you and become your adversary, you've inadvertently lived out the etymology of adversary. The word is from the Latin adjective adversarius ("turned toward" or "antagonistic toward"), which in turn can be traced back to the verb advertere, meaning "to turn to." "Advertere" itself derives from ad- and vertere ("turn"), and "vertere" is the source of a number of English words. Along with obvious derivatives like "inadvertently" and "adverse" are some surprises, such as "anniversary," "prose," and "vertebra," among others.

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

Our adversaries are developing hypersonic weapons and maneuvering missiles that threaten the United States’ ability to project power. Henry Obering Iii, Fortune, "I Used to Direct the Missile Defense Agency. America Needs New Weapons," 5 July 2018 But Booking’s aggressive push into home listings may be its most formidable adversary. Erin Griffith, WIRED, "The Airbnb Challenger You've Never Heard of (by Name)," 2 July 2018 Prestige says Ticketmaster's abuse of its market position extends to secondary ticket exchanges and that its adversary provides no transparency to consumers about how and why tickets wind up on one or another exchange. Eriq Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter, "Ticketmaster Secretly Provides Scalpers With Bot Software, Brokers Claim," 27 June 2018 His adversaries today point to that protest as evidence that Lopez Obrador lacks respect for democratic institutions, accusing him of a puritanical zeal that borders on authoritarianism. Kate Linthicum, latimes.com, "Fed up with violence and corruption, Mexican voters embrace a seasoned leftist who wants to double the minimum wage," 24 June 2018 Politicians and public figures are literally dehumanising their adversaries. The Economist, "American political rhetoric is sliding towards the sewer," 21 June 2018 But the searchlights also allowed the American gunners to see their adversaries. Gary Kamiya, San Francisco Chronicle, "How SF’s namesake ship survived a World War II ‘suicide’ mission," 9 June 2018 Trump was dismayed by Pyongyang’s bellicose rhetoric, the same theatrics Trump often deploys against his adversaries. Author: Philip Rucker, Ashley Parker, Josh Dawsey, Anchorage Daily News, "White House commitment to summit ended as spontaneously as it began," 25 May 2018 In Book One: A Journey Through the Heavens, a hidden celestial kingdom faces its greatest adversary as a paladin from beyond the blue uncovers a secret that could unravel their very existence. Tara Knight, The Root, "Beyond the Blue," 13 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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, "Joaquin Phoenix descends into a hellish New York underworld in the haunting 'You Were Never Really Here'," 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, "Private jets scandal, tax plan test Trump's brand," 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, "Trump travel ban case: States to file more evidence of ban’s harm," 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, "House defense panel would create space combat force," 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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Statistics for adversary

Last Updated

3 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for adversary

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

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More Definitions for adversary

adversary

noun
ad·​ver·​sary | \ˈad-vər-ˌser-ē \
plural adversaries

Kids Definition of adversary

adversary

noun
ad·​ver·​sary | \ˈad-vər-ˌser-ē \

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

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