\ 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

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 Our favorite Marvel heroes are, of course, averse to taking life under any circumstances. Christian Holub, EW.com, 7 May 2022 South Koreans are averse to inflicting direct damage on South Korea-U.S. relations. Washington Post, 14 Apr. 2022 Facing new conservative scrutiny, culture-war-averse Republicans have also been forced to recalibrate. Nate Hochman, National Review, 1 Apr. 2022 During an hourlong interview, Flynn, bundled up in a sweater against the early March chill, a US Navy ball cap sitting atop his head, stayed true to his reputation as understated and deeply controversy-averse. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 26 Mar. 2022 But promotion-averse Biden isn’t out taking victory laps by any stretch, meaning voters aren’t seeing it. Philip Elliott, Time, 18 Mar. 2022 The result was a strangely satisfying dessert that would have mystified my sweets-averse Vietnamese parents. Danny Chau, The New Yorker, 13 Mar. 2022 About half an hour of manual-reading (or video-watching, for my fellow manual-averse people) and a few practice shots will have you on your way to coffee shop-quality espresso. Lauren Joseph, Bon Appétit, 24 Feb. 2022 Some people are averse to their personal space being invaded. Abigail Van Buren, oregonlive, 20 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near averse



averse to

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Last Updated

13 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Averse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/averse. Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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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.

More from Merriam-Webster on averse

Nglish: Translation of averse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of averse for Arabic Speakers


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