1

adversary

noun ad·ver·sary \ ˈad-vər-ˌser-ē , ˈad-və- , -ˌse-rē \
Updated on: 1 Dec 2017

Definition of adversary

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

adversariness

noun

adversary was our Word of the Day on 01/23/2011. Hear the podcast!

Examples of adversary in a Sentence

  1. 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 Guide2-8 June 2008
  2. 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. PowellWilson QuarterlySummer 2004
  3. 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 PerettiNation9 Apr. 2001
  4. 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 JonesElements of Military Strategy1996
  5. His political adversaries tried to prevent him from winning the nomination.

  6. our old cat seemed to consider the new kitten an adversary

Recent Examples of adversary from the Web

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.

Did You Know?

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.

Origin and Etymology of adversary

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 2-ary — more at adverse

2

adversary

adjective

Definition of adversary

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.

Examples of adversary in a Sentence

  1. 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 PradosMHQ : The Quarterly Journal of Military HistorySpring 1996
  2. 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 StrasserNational Law Journal4 Mar. 1991
  3. there was a long history of adversary dealings between the two nations

Recent Examples of adversary from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of adversary

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

ADVERSARY Defined for Kids

adversary

noun ad·ver·sary \ ˈad-vər-ˌser-ē \

Definition of adversary for Students

plural adversaries

Law Dictionary

1

adversary

noun ad·ver·sary \ ˈad-vər-ˌser-ē \

legal Definition of adversary

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

2

adversary

adjective

legal Definition of adversary

: 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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