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

Purdy did a great job of powering through the adversity of this game and getting his team into endzone over and over again. Staff, azcentral, "Arizona high school football Week 3 roundup: Perry outlasts Red Mountain in 4OT Thriller," 6 Sep. 2019 What the Red Sox have done, or not done, this season has left the 43-year-old Cora facing the first real adversity of his managerial life, a reminder that nothing is so temporary in sports as the grace period earned by a winning manager or coach. Tara Sullivan, BostonGlobe.com, "Alex Cora faces the first real adversity of his managerial tenure," 7 Aug. 2019 The whole purpose of the Pell Grant program is to give those individuals facing the greatest financial adversity access to one of the most proven paths to prosperity: education. Emily Mooney, National Review, "Reinstate Pell Grants for Prisoners," 10 June 2019 But if the adversity metric becomes a substitute for schools emphasizing race, this will be an improvement on explicit racial categories that become implicit quotas. George Will, Twin Cities, "George Will: The College Board tries to solve a social problem that it’s unsuited to solve," 9 June 2019 Was the day to be just focused, accept all the adversities. Ravi Ubha, CNN, "Nadal beats Federer to reach 12th French Open final," 7 June 2019 The higher the number, the more adversity a student has faced. Annie Abrams, The New Republic, "The College Board Hopes to Profit from “Adversity”," 6 June 2019 Some are the first in their families to graduate from high school, and others overcame adversities to turn their lives around and shine with achievements. San Diego Union-Tribune, "North County School News, Aug. 22," 22 Aug. 2019 However, what is ignored in this discussion is the adversity faced by African-American graduates. Steven Underwood, Essence, "Opinion: Is Black Excellence Killing Us?," 21 Aug. 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

12 Sep 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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