\ ə-ˈgen(t)st How to pronounce against (audio) , -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

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Examples of against in a Sentence

Preposition 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 Many church leaders throughout the state have spoken out against them, calling them an infringement on the First Amendment's free exercise clause. Nicholas Rowan, Washington Examiner, "San Francisco archbishop: Coronavirus church restrictions are 'mocking God'," 21 Sep. 2020 Trump frequently disparages Schiff, claiming without evidence that the California Democrat is behind a conspiracy against him. Jonathan Lemire, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump says he will name a Supreme Court nominee Friday or Saturday," 21 Sep. 2020 Dennard’s plea also includes a $15,000 money judgment against her. Jennifer Edwards Baker, The Enquirer, "Sentencing date set for former Councilwoman Tamaya Dennard," 21 Sep. 2020 He was scheduled to return to Omaha on Sunday to face the charges against him, Dornan said. CBS News, "Man charged in fatal shooting of Black man during protest in Omaha kills himself, lawyer says," 21 Sep. 2020 But Bradshaw, the most vocal critic of city staff among voting council members, cast a vote against it. Scott Huddleston,, "Leon Valley council members, with election weeks away, put another colleague on hot seat," 21 Sep. 2020 The longer-run issue, however, is that there will be more TikToks, companies around the world that develop apps that Americans love — or see as a hedge against their own government. David E. Sanger, New York Times, "TikTok Deal Exposes a Security Gap, and a Missing China Strategy," 20 Sep. 2020 Thapar has been willing to rule for criminal defendants and against the government. Andrew Wolfson, The Courier-Journal, "Transplanted Kentuckian on top of list for U.S. Supreme Court vacancy," 19 Sep. 2020 The premier of tiny Malaita, the most populous province in the Solomon Islands, now wants to hold his own referendum on secession in protest against his national government’s overtures to China. The Economist, "No island is an island Referendums in the Pacific are attracting attention faraway," 19 Sep. 2020

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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Time Traveler for against

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for against

Last Updated

24 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Against.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for against


How to pronounce against (audio)

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 How to pronounce against (audio) \

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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