adjective \ ə-ˈvərs \
|Updated on: 15 Aug 2018

Definition of averse

: having an active feeling of repugnance, dislike, or distaste usually used with to
  • She was not averse to taking chances.
  • He seems to be averse to strenuous exercise.
commonly used in compounds both with and without a hyphen
  • a conservative risk-averse investor
  • a crowd averse teen





Examples of averse in a Sentence

  1. I'm not averse to broccoli if it's cooked right.

Recent Examples of averse from the Web

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

adverse vs. averse

Many people find themselves confused when faced with the choice between adverse and averse. While these two adjectives have many similarities, they are not used interchangeably.

If you want to describe a negative reaction to something (such as a harmful side effect from medication) or dangerous meteorological conditions (such as a snowstorm), adverse is the correct choice; you would not say that you had an averse reaction to medication or that there was averse weather.

Averse is most commonly followed by the preposition to (as in "she is averse to shellfish"), but not in every case; you can, for example, describe someone as “risk averse." Normally, averse to signifies a degree of dislike and avoidance, but when preceded by the word not (as in “he was not averse to having another drink”), it may be used as a pointedly understated way to express an interest in something.

In short, adverse tends to be used to describe effects, conditions, and results; while averse refers to feelings and inclinations.

Origin and Etymology of averse

Latin aversus, past participle of avertere — see avert

Synonym Discussion of averse

disinclined, hesitant, reluctant, loath, averse mean lacking the will or desire to do something indicated. disinclined implies lack of taste for or inclination.
    • disinclined to move again
    • disinclined for reading
hesitant implies a holding back especially through fear or uncertainty.
    • hesitant about asking for a date
reluctant implies a holding back through unwillingness.
    • a reluctant witness
loath implies hesitancy because of conflict with one's opinions, predilections, or liking.
    • seems loath to trust anyone
averse implies a holding back from or avoiding because of distaste or repugnance.
    • averse to hard work
    • not averse to an occasional drink

AVERSE Defined for Kids


adjective \ ə-ˈvərs \

Definition of averse for Students

: having a feeling of dislike
  • He is averse to exercise.

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