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

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

By the turn of the century, the adverse effects of using arsenic tint were widely exposed, color technology had vastly improved, and the practice (thankfully) grew out of fashion. Whitney Robinson, ELLE Decor, "The Best Shade of Green is Actually Named for a Deadly Poison," 26 Apr. 2019 It is well known that childhood trauma and adverse childhood experiences created by inhumane treatment often create negative health impacts that can last an individual’s entire lifespan. Washington Post, "The Health 202: Azar: We need to get migrant children out of HHS care as 'expeditiously' as possible," 21 June 2018 Madara says it's well known that childhood trauma and adverse childhood experiences created by inhumane treatment often create negative health impacts that can last a lifetime. CBS News, "American Medical Association calls for end to family separation policy," 20 June 2018 Stress hormones seem to shrink this structure, and adverse childhood experiences like abuse and neglect have been linked with smaller hippocampal volumes later in life. Darby Saxbe, Scientific American, "Living with Neighborhood Violence May Shape Teens’ Brains," 15 June 2018 In numbers, this translates to 61 percent of black children, 51 percent of Latino children, 40 percent of white children, and 23 percent of Asian children having at least one adverse experience. Mimi Kirk, The Atlantic, "What Kids' Trauma Looks Like Across the U.S.," 27 Feb. 2018 Some adverse reactions to look out for can be diarrhea and bellyaches. If your canine (and their stomach) loves the new snack, then great. Jackie Frere, Woman's Day, "Can Dogs Eat Apples? A Veterinarian Weighs In," 2 Apr. 2019 That said, the company noted in the statement that there have not been any reports of adverse reactions or illnesses related to the recall to date. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "Cold-Pressed Watermelon Water Recalled for Potentially Containing Plastic," 12 Feb. 2019 That move has led to some adverse consequences for app discovery, though, as direct searches for popular games and apps on iOS now often return ads for completely different apps as the top result. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Apple shuts App Store affiliate program, imperiling recommendation sites," 2 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

8 May 2019

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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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