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

Definition of averse

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

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Other Words from averse

aversely adverb
averseness noun

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 Low interest rates make investors less averse to holding assets that might not pay off for years to come. Jason Zweig, WSJ, "‘Our Recent Performance Sucks.’ Here’s Your $10 Billion Back.," 23 Oct. 2020 In one notable move, the Biden campaign sent news of Ms. Harris’s selection to the full dormant list of the D.N.C., something campaigns are generally averse to doing out of fear of tripping spam filters, and again after her convention speech. Rachel Shorey, New York Times, "How Joe Biden Became the Unlikeliest of Online Fund-Raising Superstars," 14 Oct. 2020 As crowd-averse customers increasingly shop from home, boosting online revenue has become more important than ever. Angelina Rascouet, Bloomberg.com, "L’Oreal Names Insider Nicolas Hieronimus as Only Its Sixth CEO Ever," 14 Oct. 2020 Even the most spoiler-averse fans out there know that some crazy stuff happened in the upcoming 16th season, which stars Clare Crawley and was filmed over the summer in a quarantine bubble. Kristen Baldwin, EW.com, "The Bachelorette preview: 'Can we get a new Bachelorette in here?'," 6 Oct. 2020 That move transcended years of resistance from debt-averse northern European countries, while signaling that the European bloc — not generally known for cooperation in the face of crisis — had achieved a new state of solidarity. Peter S. Goodman, New York Times, "Europe’s Economic Recovery Is a Summer Memory," 10 Oct. 2020 Risk-averse corporate travel departments are keeping employees from hitting the road. Patrick Clark, Bloomberg.com, "With Prices Down $200 Per Room, NYC Hotels Brace for More Pain," 9 Oct. 2020 Americans remain the most tax-averse people in the western world. David Harsanyi, National Review, "Avoiding Taxes Is Patriotic," 29 Sep. 2020 Some Democratic senators, who had been averse to increasing the size of the nine-member court, said in the wake of Ginsburg's death that the Republican rush to fill the high court vacancy could be a breaking point. Mark Sherman, Star Tribune, "Some Dems, not yet Biden, talk of expanding Supreme Court," 22 Sep. 2020

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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Time Traveler for averse

Time Traveler

The first known use of averse was in 1597

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Statistics for averse

Last Updated

27 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Averse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/averse. Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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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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