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

Although Gallardo believes adversity has begun to shape the club’s culture in a positive way, a nagging question still remains in the Lions’ fifth season — can Orlando City reach the playoffs and contend for an MLS championship? Julia Poe, Pro Soccer USA, "Orlando City took challenging path to MLS all-star spotlight," 28 July 2019 The movies rely on tried and true film narratives — the coming of age, class warfare, overcoming adversity and rising to the occasion. Pat Mcdonogh, The Courier-Journal, "Behind-the-scenes of the Indiana classic 'Breaking Away' 40 years later," 9 July 2019 With the home team's temporary switch from Talking Stick Resort Arena as an example, overcoming adversity has brought the Rattlers to season's end without a loss and the chance to win it all. Drake Hills, azcentral, "Triumph proves Arizona Rattlers are battle tested for United Bowl," 5 July 2019 Gloria, 40, has said San Diego needs a leader who has overcome adversity and reflects the increasingly diverse city. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Housing crisis emerges as key battle in San Diego mayor’s race," 1 July 2019 In the face of loss, faith encourages us that adversity will work together for good. David French, National Review, "Yes, God Cares about Football," 6 Feb. 2018 She's seen her son face adversity before, like dealing with the death of his father, Pat, in a bike accident. Dallas News, "Beto O'Rourke's mother has this to say about her son's White House ambitions," 28 July 2019 Following Peru's equaliser against the run of play, in the face of adversity, Jesus showed a cool head to calmly slot it past Pedro Gallese to retake the lead immediately. SI.com, "Brazil 3-1 Peru: Report, Ratings & Reaction as the Selecao Lift the Copa America Trophy," 7 July 2019 With Rattlers fans inspiring the team to overcome a season's worth of adversity, Mady can't help but feel a connection to them. Drake Hills, azcentral, "Triumph proves Arizona Rattlers are battle tested for United Bowl," 5 July 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

15 Aug 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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