an·​tag·​o·​nis·​tic (ˌ)an-ˌta-gə-ˈni-stik How to pronounce antagonistic (audio)
: showing dislike or opposition : marked by or resulting from antagonism
an antagonistic relationship
factions antagonistic to one another
antagonistically adverb

Examples of antagonistic in a Sentence

They found it impossible to deal with such antagonistic groups. countries that have been antagonistic towards each other for centuries
Recent Examples on the Web Pashinyan, the country’s mercurial, impulsive but democratically elected leader—endures, although the Russian government has become increasingly antagonistic toward him. Thomas De Waal, Foreign Affairs, 26 Sep. 2023 Sarandon had previously starred as bloodthirsty antagonistic Jerry Dandridge in the 1985 vampire thriller Fright Night, which Holland wrote and directed. Jen Juneau, Peoplemag, 9 Nov. 2023 But Castro officials see disrespect from Washington — which has yet to invite Castro to a White House meeting with President Biden — and a policy that harps on corruption and human rights over development and supplies nonmilitary aid to civil sectors antagonistic to the government. Karen Deyoung, Washington Post, 2 Oct. 2023 While The Shark Is Broken depicts a fractured, antagonistic relationship between Dreyfuss and Robert on the movie's famous boat The Orca, Dreyfuss told Vanity Fair his relationship with Robert was not portrayed accurately. Tommy McArdle, Peoplemag, 27 Oct. 2023 Seeing someone who is antagonistic to audiences, feral, and constantly teetering toward oblivion is so far removed from the rock legend’s current polished image rooted in conservative and Christian values. Daniel Dylan Wray, Pitchfork, 11 Oct. 2023 As for the baggage, the aforementioned Majors does return in a role related to his Kang persona, which has been earmarked as the antagonistic linchpin of Marvel’s next phase of movies. Brian Lowry, CNN, 3 Oct. 2023 For many people, fashion is a refuge from an antagonistic world. Rachel Tashjian, Washington Post, 9 Sep. 2023 Ly knows how to stage scenes of visceral power, deftly moving between full-hearted flashes of community and taut, antagonistic ones laced with a dreadful foreboding. Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 8 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'antagonistic.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


see antagonize

First Known Use

circa 1637, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of antagonistic was circa 1637

Dictionary Entries Near antagonistic

Cite this Entry

“Antagonistic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


an·​tag·​o·​nis·​tic (ˌ)an-ˌtag-ə-ˈnis-tik How to pronounce antagonistic (audio)
: showing antagonism
antagonistically adverb

Medical Definition


an·​tag·​o·​nis·​tic (ˌ)an-ˌtag-ə-ˈnis-tik How to pronounce antagonistic (audio)
: characterized by or resulting from antagonism
antagonistic antibiotics
: relating to or being muscles that are antagonists
skeletal muscles arranged in antagonistic pairs
antagonistically adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on antagonistic

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