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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for enemy


adversary, antagonist, foe, hostile, opponent


amigo, friend

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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

At one point during a question-and-answer session with union members, Trumka, highlighting a theme of solidarity, noted that Mexican workers are not the enemy. Eric D. Lawrence, Detroit Free Press, "AFL-CIO President Trumka says NAFTA replacement not ready," 20 June 2019 Today, the most obvious enemy of meaningful action on climate change is the fossil fuel industry, which has emphasized the complexity of the Earth’s climate in order to divide the public and immobilize our politics. Michelle Nijhuis, The New York Review of Books, "Early Warnings," 17 June 2019 Share the cost of building, operating and maintaining the Fire Force by utilizing these resources globally to fight this common enemy. Dp Opinion, The Denver Post, "Letters: Be smart about student debt; FEMA staffing solved; How about a Fire Force? (6/17/19)," 17 June 2019 But most Americans who die at the hands of the enemy die from cheap things such as mortars, IEDs and AK-47s. Robert H. Scales, Twin Cities, "Robert Scales: Understanding the cost of combat, 50 years later," 16 June 2019 Hardly a food to partake of mid-workday, its consumption imposes a breadth of assimilation that is the ruthless enemy of productivity. Amy Drew Thompson, orlandosentinel.com, "Committed to BBQ: Orlando area barbecue champs share stories of smoke and glory," 13 June 2019 That asks players to use a special melee attack when an enemy is on its last legs. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "DOOM Eternal gameplay world premiere: Devil horns in the air—literally," 9 June 2019 World Peace, once considered an enemy of the league, won the NBA’s prestigious J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award seven years after the Palace fight. Jemele Hill, The Atlantic, "The Turbulent Journey of Metta World Peace," 5 June 2019 The vertical takeoff and landing nature of the F-35B also means the Marines can fly their jets off the lightning carrier, land them at primitive airstrips on shore, and disperse them in the vicinity of the enemy--something regular carriers can’t do. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The Navy and Marines Are Deploying a 'Lightning Carrier' to the Pacific," 2 May 2019

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.

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First Known Use of enemy

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for enemy

Middle English enemi, from Anglo-French, from Latin inimicus, from in- in- entry 1 + amicus friend — more at amiable

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Statistics for enemy

Last Updated

23 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for enemy

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

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More Definitions for enemy



English Language Learners Definition of enemy

: someone who hates another : someone who attacks or tries to harm another
: something that harms or threatens someone or something
: a group of people (such as a nation) against whom another group is fighting a war


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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on enemy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for enemy

Spanish Central: Translation of enemy

Nglish: Translation of enemy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of enemy for Arabic Speakers

Comments on enemy

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


to take the place or position of

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