en·​e·​my | \ ˈe-nə-mē How to pronounce enemy (audio) \
plural enemies

Definition of enemy

1 : one that is antagonistic to another especially : one seeking to injure, overthrow, or confound an opponent
2 : something harmful or deadly alcohol was his greatest enemy
3a : a military adversary
b : a hostile unit or force

Synonyms & Antonyms for enemy



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of enemy in a Sentence

He made a lot of enemies during the course of his career. Tradition is the enemy of progress.
Recent Examples on the Web These worries can keep you up night after night, and sleep loss is yet another enemy of brain function. Sonya Collins, Fortune, 27 Apr. 2022 Netflix was once the enemy of exhibition because the streaming service would not comply with the industry-standard 90-day theatrical window. Rebecca Rubin, Variety, 25 Apr. 2022 Vibration is the enemy of any turntable, and this one is designed from the ground up to minimize the chances that vibration is going to intrude on the sound of your vinyl. Brad Moon, Forbes, 24 Apr. 2022 But the sense that humanity is the enemy of life and beauty: that part may be right, to judge from the heaving, confounding, chockablock preview days of the 2022 Venice Biennale. Jason Farago, New York Times, 21 Apr. 2022 Don’t let chasing perfection be the enemy of living with good enough. Nicole Anzia, Anchorage Daily News, 16 Apr. 2022 Don’t let chasing perfection be the enemy of living with good enough. Washington Post, 13 Apr. 2022 Baldwin used to say ignorance allied with power is the most pernicious enemy of justice. Los Angeles Times, 8 Mar. 2022 Everyone involved is constantly clutching metal wine glasses because sobriety is a longtime enemy of compelling reality television, and so is Chardonnay that lurches up and down in its glass, belying an edit that might not be strictly chronological. Amanda Mull, The Atlantic, 5 Mar. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of enemy

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for enemy

Middle English enmy, enemi, borrowed from Anglo-French enemi, going back to Latin inimīcus, noun derivative of inimīcus, adjective, "of an opponent, unfriendly, hostile," from in- in- entry 1 + amīcus "friendly, well-disposed, loving" — more at amiable

Learn More About enemy

Time Traveler for enemy

Time Traveler

The first known use of enemy was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near enemy



enemy alien

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for enemy

Last Updated

10 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Enemy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/enemy. Accessed 20 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for enemy


en·​e·​my | \ ˈe-nə-mē How to pronounce enemy (audio) \
plural enemies

Kids Definition of enemy

1 : a person who hates another : a person who attacks or tries to harm another
2 : a country or group of people with which another country or group is at war or a person belonging to such a country or group
3 : something that harms or threatens Drought is the farmer's enemy.

More from Merriam-Webster on enemy

Nglish: Translation of enemy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of enemy for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Which Word Does Not Belong?

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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