\ 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

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 Do the current vaccines, boosters work against the omicron variant? Melina Walling, The Arizona Republic, 13 Jan. 2022 The Bearcats at least managed the win against ECU, however. Pat Brennan, The Enquirer, 13 Jan. 2022 Arizona played arguably its best game of the season in a Week 4 win against the Rams, dominating from start to finish in the 37-20 victory. David Brandt, ajc, 13 Jan. 2022 That included a Week 2 win against Cincinnati, his former team. Matt Goul, cleveland, 13 Jan. 2022 Case in point: The agency is reportedly considering recommending people wear N95 or KN95 masks, rather than cloth ones, for better protection against the highly-contagious omicron variant. Molly Osberg, The New Republic, 11 Jan. 2022 One idea the former Biden advisers proposed was the distribution of free N95 masks, which could better protect against the Omicron variant than cloth or surgical masks. New York Times, 11 Jan. 2022 Studies suggest that two doses of vaccine are not as protective against the omicron variant, the one which is currently dominant, as two doses plus a booster. Shari Rudavsky, The Indianapolis Star, 10 Jan. 2022 Public health experts have said two doses of vaccine plus a booster offer the best protecting against the highly contagious omicron variant. Washington Post, 10 Jan. 2022

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

16 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Against.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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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 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

More from Merriam-Webster on against

Nglish: Translation of against for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of against for Arabic Speakers


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