ap·​po·​si·​tion ˌa-pə-ˈzi-shən How to pronounce apposition (audio)
plural appositions
: a grammatical construction in which two or more usually adjacent words, phrases, or clauses (especially nouns or noun equivalents) that have the same referent stand in the same syntactical relation to the rest of a sentence (such as the poet and Burns in "a biography of the poet Burns")
: the relation between such words, phrases, or clauses
: an act or instance of apposing
specifically : the deposition of successive layers upon those already present (as in cell walls)
: the state of being apposed
ˌa-pə-ˈzish-nəl How to pronounce apposition (audio)

Example Sentences

In “my friend the doctor,” the word “doctor” is in apposition to “my friend.”
Recent Examples on the Web This type is called an apposition compound eye, meaning each lens acts independently to create a mosaic image of what a creature sees. Riley Black, Scientific American, 13 Aug. 2020 But other elements were recognizable, like the flat vowels and the plaid shirts and the helpful practicality, like the lonesomeness of the undifferentiated plains, like the apposition of wilderness and chain stores. Alexis Soloski, New York Times, 27 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'apposition.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Middle English apposicioun, apposicion "addition, application, apposition in grammar," borrowed from Medieval Latin appositiōn-, appositiō "application, addition, syntactic juxtaposition," going back to Late Latin,"application, addition," going back to Latin, "comparison," from apposi-, variant stem of appōnere "to place near, put or fit on, contribute as an additional element" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action — more at apposite

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of apposition was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near apposition

Cite this Entry

“Apposition.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition


ap·​po·​si·​tion ˌap-ə-ˈzish-ən How to pronounce apposition (audio)
: a grammatical construction in which a noun or noun equivalent is followed by another that explains it
in "my friend the doctor," the word "doctor" is in apposition with "friend"

Medical Definition


ap·​po·​si·​tion ˌap-ə-ˈzish-ən How to pronounce apposition (audio)
: the placing of things in juxtaposition or proximity
specifically : deposition of successive layers upon those already present (as in cell walls) compare accretion, intussusception sense 2
: the state of being in juxtaposition or proximity (as in the drawing together of cut edges of tissue in healing)
appose transitive verb
apposed; apposing
appositional adjective
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