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

Lawnmower parents go to whatever lengths necessary to prevent their child from having to face adversity, struggle, or failure. Janine Puhak, Fox News, "'Lawn mower parents' are the new 'helicopter moms'," 18 Sep. 2018 The band’s musical and personal bonds have enabled the four to overcome adversity, from a personal tragedy to being dropped by their first record label. George Varga, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Little Big Town a chart-topping, award-winning band with a mission (and a mission statement)," 14 June 2018 Seeing champions struggle and overcome adversity or difficulty, whatever that may be, is a pleasure. Naina Bajekal/paris, Time, "‘The Most Optimistic Generation Since the 1990s.’ Andre Agassi on the Tennis Players to Watch," 12 June 2018 But during these times of adversity, the Gladiators thought back to the black dog tags created before the season. Kyle Stackpole, Howard County Times, "Glenelg girls lacrosse survives Hereford to win third straight state championship," 24 May 2018 Your level of grace, even in the face of adversity, is admirable and second to none. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Alex Trebek's Cancer Diagnosis Sparks Outpour of Support From Pat Sajak, Cher, and More," 7 Mar. 2019 All of this is reason for optimism in the face of adversity. Nicole Phelps, Vogue, "The Top 10 Shows of New York Fashion Week Fall 2019," 14 Feb. 2019 Reyes said his life experiences have allowed him to not stress over things and to show empathy toward others dealing with adversity. Steve Miletich, The Seattle Times, "‘He’s just a doer’: Meet Seattle police-chief candidate Ely Reyes," 9 July 2018 Marian Catholic dealt with adversity before the season began. Pat Disabato, Daily Southtown, "Marian Catholic's Mike Taylor named the Daily Southtown Boys Basketball Coach of the Year," 31 Mar. 2018

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

11 Apr 2019

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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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