adverse

adjective
ad·​verse | \ ad-ˈvərs How to pronounce adverse (audio) , ˈad-ˌvərs-\

Definition of adverse

1 : acting against or in a contrary direction : hostile hindered by adverse winds
2a : opposed to one's interests an adverse verdict heard testimony adverse to their position especially : unfavorable adverse criticism
b : causing harm : harmful adverse drug effects
3 archaic : opposite in position

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Other Words from adverse

adversely adverb
adverseness noun

Adverse vs. Averse

Many people find themselves confused when faced with the choice between adverse and averse. While these two adjectives have many similarities, they are not used interchangeably.

If you want to describe a negative reaction to something (such as a harmful side effect from medication) or dangerous meteorological conditions (such as a snowstorm), adverse is the correct choice; you would not say that you had an averse reaction to medication or that there was averse weather.

Averse is most commonly followed by the preposition to (as in "she is averse to shellfish"), but not in every case; you can, for example, describe someone as “risk averse." Normally, averse to signifies a degree of dislike and avoidance, but when preceded by the word not (as in “he was not averse to having another drink”), it may be used as a pointedly understated way to express an interest in something.

In short, adverse tends to be used to describe effects, conditions, and results; while averse refers to feelings and inclinations.

Examples of adverse in a Sentence

The Bankruptcy Code requires that debtor's counsel be disinterested and not have an interest adverse to the estate. Lawyers Weekly USA, 4 Oct. 1999 On more than one occasion his decrees provoked riots, and there were those who voiced adverse opinions on the Duke in public. — Alison Weir, The Princes in the Tower, 1992 The plant tolerates adverse conditions … — Dave Dunn, Fine Gardening, January/February 1991 all the adverse publicity really caused the movie star's popularity to suffer the adverse effects of the drug are too severe to allow it to be marketed
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Recent Examples on the Web

The grievance could also explore the larger issues described above—and, namely, whether teams can take adverse actions against players for protesting the anthem. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Can the NFL or Its Teams Legally Require Players to Stand for the Anthem? NFLPA Doesn't Think So," 8 May 2018 According to the National Practitioner Data Bank, adverse actions by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) against physicians quadrupled from 88 to 371 cases from 2011 to 2014. Brie Zeltner, cleveland.com, "Opioid 'contracts' humiliate some patients with chronic pain, and may not make them safer," 25 Apr. 2018 Researchers, companies, and the general public have all begun to grapple more with the limitations of AI and its adverse effects, asking important questions like: how is this technology being used, and for whose benefit? James Vincent, The Verge, "The Verge 2018 tech report card: AI," 30 Dec. 2018 For people with certain conditions, Dr. Mysore notes that things like juice cleanses or shakes can have adverse health effects as well. Brittney Mcnamara, Teen Vogue, "Detox Diets Aren't Real or Healthy — and Body "Toxins" Don't Exist," 1 Jan. 2019 The clinical trials that do exist are mostly small, but a March report from the World Health Organization found no adverse health outcomes for CBD and no potential for abuse. Amanda Chicago Lewis, WSJ, "Not Everybody Must Get Stoned: Pot’s Nonintoxicating Future," 25 Oct. 2018 None of the five women who did not seek medical attention reported experiencing an adverse outcome. Julia Belluz, Vox, "Abortions by mail are available now in the US. Here’s what you need to know.," 20 Oct. 2018 In 2013, the FDA slapped the clinic with a lengthy warning for failing to safely treat patients and report adverse outcomes. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Crowdfunding raises millions for quack cancer remedies, like coffee enemas," 20 Sep. 2018 The other will incentivize maternal health care providers to offer integrated health care services to pregnant women and new mothers and reduce adverse maternal health outcomes, maternal deaths, and racial health disparities. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Black Women Are Dying During Childbirth. Sen. Kamala Harris Is Working to Change That.," 23 Aug. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'adverse.' 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 adverse

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for adverse

Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French advers, borrowed from Latin adversus "turned toward, facing, opposed," from past participle of advertere "to turn toward, direct" — more at advert entry 1

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Statistics for adverse

Last Updated

13 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for adverse

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

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More Definitions for adverse

adverse

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of adverse

: bad or unfavorable : not good

adverse

adjective
ad·​verse | \ ad-ˈvərs How to pronounce adverse (audio) \

Kids Definition of adverse

1 : acting against or in an opposite direction adverse winds
2 : not helping or favoring adverse circumstances

Other Words from adverse

adversely adverb Bad weather adversely affected attendance at the fair.

adverse

adjective
ad·​verse | \ ad-ˈvərs, ˈad-ˌvərs How to pronounce adverse (audio) \

Legal Definition of adverse

: opposed to one's interests : operating to one's detriment an adverse verdict

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More from Merriam-Webster on adverse

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with adverse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for adverse

Spanish Central: Translation of adverse

Nglish: Translation of adverse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of adverse for Arabic Speakers

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