averse

adjective
\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from averse

aversely adverb
averseness noun

Synonyms for averse

Synonyms

allergic, antipathetic

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

The District of Columbia is fiercely Democratic and averse to Trump’s touch. Adam Taylor, Washington Post, "Trump’s July 4 military parade is a celebration of himself," 4 July 2019 Politicians across party lines will complain of bias when a platform makes a decision averse to them, even if the decision is correct. Deanna Paul, The Seattle Times, "Analysis: How fighting political disinformation could collide with the First Amendment," 30 Mar. 2019 Instead, the normally media-averse Prince Harry stepped outside to gush to the reporters, and even answer questions briefly, before the proud papa headed back inside. Ann Lien, House Beautiful, "Baby Sussex Is About to Have Some Seriously VIP Visitors," 7 May 2019 And in risk-averse Hollywood, that means the film’s reception has huge implications for Asian and Asian-American actors and filmmakers in all kinds of genres. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Crazy Rich Asians is a dazzling, sumptuous success," 18 Aug. 2018 What this demonstrates is that people who lived a million years would tend to be very risk-averse! Quanta Magazine, "Solution: ‘When Probability Meets Real Life’," 2 Mar. 2018 These power plays produced a film that for its own part seemed strikingly averse to manipulation or force. Max Nelson, Harper's magazine, "The All-Seeing Eye," 10 June 2019 During volatile periods investors grow more risk-averse. Stacey Cunningham, WSJ, "We’re Suing the SEC to Protect the Stock Market," 14 Feb. 2019 Nonetheless, Gisin is not averse to thinking that maybe, one day, the experiment could be done using complex quantum computers as the agents inside the labs (acting as Alice’s friend and Bob’s friend). Quanta Magazine, "New Quantum Paradox Clarifies Where Our Views of Reality Go Wrong," 3 Dec. 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of averse

1597, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for averse

Latin aversus, past participle of avertere — see avert

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about averse

Statistics for averse

Last Updated

18 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for averse

The first known use of averse was in 1597

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for averse

averse

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

Kids Definition of averse

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on averse

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with averse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for averse

Spanish Central: Translation of averse

Nglish: Translation of averse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of averse for Arabic Speakers

Comments on averse

What made you want to look up averse? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

something desired as essential

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!