preposition \ ə-ˈgen(t)st , -ˈgin(t)st , -ˈgān(t)st \
|Updated on: 14 Aug 2018

Definition of against

1 a : 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
2 a : 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
4 a : in preparation or provision for
  • saving against an uncertain future
b : as a defense or protection from
  • a shelter against the cold
5 a : 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
7 a : 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

Examples of against in a Sentence

  1. We must continue the struggle for justice and against injustice.

  2. She voted against the proposal.

  3. He spoke against appeasing the enemy.

  4. Some people were for the proposal but others were against it.

  5. There's a law against doing that.

  6. two runners racing against each other

  7. Touching the ball with your hands is against the rules.

Recent Examples of against from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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

against Synonyms


anti, contra;


for, pro;

Related Words

athwart, contrary to;

versus, with;




Definition of against

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

Origin and Etymology of against

Middle English, derivative of against 1against

AGAINST Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of against for English Language Learners

  • : 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

AGAINST Defined for Kids


preposition \ ə-ˈgenst \

Definition of against for Students

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

Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


very hard to disturb or upset

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet-pasta-spelling-help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!