adversity

noun
ad·​ver·​si·​ty | \ ad-ˈvər-sə-tē How to pronounce adversity (audio) \
plural adversities

Definition of adversity

: a state or instance of serious or continued difficulty or misfortune showing courage in the face of adversity

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Synonyms & Antonyms for adversity

Synonyms

ill, knock, misadventure, mischance, misfortune, mishap, tragedy

Antonyms

fortune, luck, serendipity

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Choose the Right Synonym for adversity

misfortune, mischance, adversity, mishap mean adverse fortune or an instance of this. misfortune may apply to either the incident or conjunction of events that is the cause of an unhappy change of fortune or to the ensuing state of distress. never lost hope even in the depths of misfortune mischance applies especially to a situation involving no more than slight inconvenience or minor annoyance. took the wrong road by mischance adversity applies to a state of grave or persistent misfortune. had never experienced great adversity mishap applies to an often trivial instance of bad luck. the usual mishaps of a family vacation

Did You Know?

Adversity, "mischance," "misfortune," and "mishap" all suggest difficulty of one sort or another. "Adversity" particularly applies to a state of grave or persistent misfortune (as in "a childhood marked by great adversity"). "Mishap" suggests an often trivial instance of bad luck (as in "the usual mishaps of a family vacation"). "Misfortune" is the most common and the most general of the terms, often functioning as a simple synonym of "bad luck" (as in "They had the misfortune to get a flat tire on the way to their wedding"). "Mischance" applies especially to a situation involving no more than slight inconvenience or minor annoyance (as in "Some small mischance befell us").

Examples of adversity in a Sentence

After two years of research, I discovered that everyone has a crisis personality survivor IQ—that they marshal in a moment of adversity: a mindset and ways of thinking about a situation. — Ben Sherwood, Newsweek, 2 Feb. 2009 Perhaps because their brains are wired differently, dyslexics are often skilled problem solvers, coming at solutions from novel or surprising angles and making conceptual leaps.  … It may also be that their early struggle with reading better prepares them for dealing with adversity in a volatile, fast-changing world. — Christine Gorman, Time, 28 July 2003 High school, college and even NFL teams have been getting a quick morale boost by going to see Remember the Titans, the schmaltzy but uplifting story about (what else?) a football squad overcoming adversity. Sports Illustrated, 6 Nov. 2000 The narrative plot is clearly defined, and it is classically familiar: Huck (without Jim) and Tom Sawyer light out for unknown territory to discover their manhood by successfully confronting the harsh adversities of life. — John W. Aldridge, Atlantic, August 1994 He showed courage in the face of adversity. We had to learn to deal with adversity.
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Recent Examples on the Web

While Kravitz is embarking on a new chapter of her life, the actress, 30, has been open in the past about facing adversity and overcoming it. Alexia Fernandez, PEOPLE.com, "Zoë Kravitz Is Married! All About How She Came Into Her Own in Hollywood and Found Love," 29 June 2019 The nonprofit provides children facing adversity with one-on-one mentoring. Krislyn Placide, sun-sentinel.com, "Déja Vu gala brings back the ’80s for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward County," 27 June 2019 The key to better treatment Many kids face adversity and show remarkable resilience, but no one really knows why. Jenny Anderson, Quartz, "The scientific effort to protect babies from trauma before it happens," 22 June 2019 Wylie’s positive influence has extended beyond the pool at the YMCA as more people learn about his story of courage and determination in the face of adversity. Earl Hodges, nola.com, "Victior Wylie explores new passion thanks to YMCA," 13 June 2019 His resolve in the face of adversity has earned him the Orlando Sentinel’s annual Buchalter Spirit Award, which will be presented during a high school awards ceremony Tuesday night at Camping World Stadium. Chris Hays, orlandosentinel.com, "Foundation Academy football player Bailey Trinder survives brutal crash, inspires others with his perseverance," 11 June 2019 The data shows that there are many reasons progressive Democrats like Ocasio-Cortez are right: Democrats can close some of the margin with Republicans by turning out more people of color, especially those who are facing economic adversity. Alvin Chang, Vox, "Race was the biggest factor in 2016 — but economics is still Democrats’ winning message," 18 Sep. 2018 In these Finals, Golden State has demonstrated remarkable resilience, playing through adversity to keep its season alive. Connor Letourneau, SFChronicle.com, "Warriors’ season over: Klay Thompson tears ACL in Game 6 loss to Raptors," 14 June 2019 Thompson said, noting the importance of moving past in-game adversity. Sam Blum | Sblum@al.com, al.com, "Auburn comes back late, is one win away from College World Series," 8 June 2019

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

13th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for adversity

Middle English adversite "opposition, hostility, misfortune, hardship," borrowed from Anglo-French adversité, aversité, borrowed from Late Latin adversitāt-, adversitās (Latin, "power of counteracting"), from Latin adversus adverse + -itāt-, -itās -ity

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Statistics for adversity

Last Updated

4 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for adversity

The first known use of adversity was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for adversity

adversity

noun

English Language Learners Definition of adversity

: a difficult situation or condition : misfortune or tragedy

adversity

noun
ad·​ver·​si·​ty | \ ad-ˈvər-sə-tē How to pronounce adversity (audio) \
plural adversities

Kids Definition of adversity

: hard times : misfortune Despite the adversity of his childhood, he achieved great success.

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