\ə-ˈgen(t)st, -ˈgin(t)st, -ˈgān(t)st\

Definition of against 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : in opposition or hostility to spoke against his enemies

b : not in conformity with : contrary to against the law

c : in competition with racing against each other

d : as a basis for disapproval of had nothing against him

2a : directly opposite : facing … she sat down just over against me …— Daniel Defoe

b obsolete : exposed to

3 : compared or contrasted with profits are up against last year

4a : in preparation or provision for saving against an uncertain future

b : as a defense or protection from a shelter against the cold

5a : in the direction of and into contact with knocked against the ropes

b : in contact with leaning against the wall

6 : in a direction opposite to the motion or course of : counter to sail against the wind

7a : as a counterbalance to weighing risk against profit

b : in exchange for a lower rate against the dollar

c : as a charge on charged against her account

8 : before the background of viewed against the sky



Definition of against (Entry 2 of 2)


: in preparation for the time when … throw on another log of wood against father comes home.— Charles Dickens

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Synonyms for against

Synonyms: Preposition

on, upon

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Examples of against in a Sentence


We must continue the struggle for justice and against injustice. She voted against the proposal. He spoke against appeasing the enemy. Some people were for the proposal but others were against it. There's a law against doing that. two runners racing against each other Touching the ball with your hands is against the rules.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Preposition

And the broad, ambiguous phrasing would seem to be potentially applicable to pretty much any person or entity who is against birth control on any grounds. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Birth Control Helped Us Reach Historically Low Abortion Rates, But the Trump Administration Could Change That," 30 Nov. 2018 Initiatives to reduce consumption are gaining momentum, from Kenya's ban on plastic bags to California's legislation against plastic straws. Tyler Wetherall, Condé Nast Traveler, "The All-Women Sailing Crew Trying to Save the Ocean of Plastic," 27 Nov. 2018 Everytown, one of the largest national organizations that advocates for gun control and against gun violence, has created a tool that tells you exactly which candidates in your state support gun reform laws. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "Gun Control Measures in the Midterms: How You Can Make a Difference With Your Vote," 30 Oct. 2018 These are called articular discs, and as slippery pieces of tissue, they are supposed to prevent your skull and jawbone from grinding against each other, according to Merck Manuals. Korin Miller, SELF, "Uh, Is It a Problem If You Can 'Pop' Your Jaw?," 16 Nov. 2018 All that’s visible is the moon, which hangs like an orange rind against a pitch black backdrop. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "For Those Grappling With California Wildfires, Dangerous Air Quality Is a New Risk," 16 Nov. 2018 But after SandyRedd and Cody Ray went up against each other in the Battle Rounds, fans were upset Clarkson chose to save him over SandyRedd. Temi Adebowale, Country Living, "'The Voice’ Contestant Cody Ray Raymond’s Shocking Exit Sparks Outrage Among Fans," 30 Oct. 2018 Simply unscrew the locks on either side of the table, tilt it back up into a bookshelf, tighten it up again, and push it against a wall. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "You Need To See How This Bookshelf Transforms Into A Table," 26 Oct. 2018 The first minstrel shows were performed in the 1830s, and a popular blackface character, Jim Crow, became the name of racist policies against African-Americans more than a century later. Megan Friedman, Good Housekeeping, "Here's Everything You Need to Know About Megyn Kelly’s NBC Exit," 26 Oct. 2018

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


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for against


Middle English ayenest, ayenst, ayeinst, agaynste, alteration (with parasitic -t, perhaps originally from partial assimilation to a following article) of ayeines, ageynes, from ayein, ageyn again + -es -'s


Middle English, derivative of against against entry 1

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Statistics for against

Last Updated

4 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for against

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

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More Definitions for against



English Language Learners Definition of against

: in opposition to (someone or something)

: in competition with (someone or something)

—used to indicate the person or thing that is affected or harmed by something


\ə-ˈgenst \

Kids Definition of against

1 : opposed to Everyone was against her idea.

2 : not agreeing with or allowed by against the law

3 : as protection from We built a shelter against the cold.

4 : in or into contact with The ball bounced against the wall.

5 : in a direction opposite to against the wind

6 : before the background of green trees against a blue sky

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More from Merriam-Webster on against

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for against

Spanish Central: Translation of against

Nglish: Translation of against for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of against for Arabic Speakers

Comments on against

What made you want to look up against? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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