\ ə-ˈvərs How to pronounce averse (audio) \

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 investora crowd averse teen

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Other Words from averse

aversely adverb
averseness noun

Synonyms for averse


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Choose the Right Synonym for 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

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.

Examples of averse in a Sentence

I'm not averse to broccoli if it's cooked right.
Recent Examples on the Web Myth #2: Older consumers are technologically challenged and averse to trying new technologies. Charles Taylor, Forbes, "Breaking Down Myths About Marketing To Older Consumers," 4 May 2021 To those who are risk-averse, the possibility of being among the tragic few who die looms large. Arkansas Online, "Vaccines offer new normal," 1 May 2021 This is a nightmare scenario for people who are conflict-averse and may not push back in the moment, despite the alarm bells going off in their head. Lila Maclellan, Quartz, "How to calm your anxiety about returning to the office," 19 Apr. 2021 For anyone averse to the natty and funky, there are also ample options. Esther Mobley, San Francisco Chronicle, "Sonoma's new cutting-edge natural wine restaurant, Valley, takes risks that pay off," 30 Mar. 2021 Anyone averse to technology or someone with less access to high-speed internet will need an alternative to smartphone apps and other video conferencing that have mainstream in 2020. Ben Flanagan | Bflanagan@al.com, al, "How do you even do a virtual Thanksgiving with your family?," 24 Nov. 2020 Clearly averse to viewing history through such a moralizing lens, MacMillan prefers cold-eyed scrutiny. Washington Post, "Why human progress is inextricably linked to war," 13 Nov. 2020 If Trump's sin was failing to heed the experts, Biden's is complete deference to the most risk-averse government bureaucrats. CNN, "What Biden did with his Trump inheritance," 27 Apr. 2021 Unfortunately, business schools tend to be quite risk-averse. Vahe Tirakyan, Forbes, "Ten Things You Can’t Learn In Business School," 21 Apr. 2021

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.

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First Known Use of averse

1597, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for averse

Latin aversus, past participle of avertere — see avert

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Statistics for averse

Last Updated

13 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Averse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/averse. Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for averse


\ ə-ˈvərs How to pronounce averse (audio) \

Kids Definition of averse

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

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