en·​mi·​ty | \ ˈen-mə-tē How to pronounce enmity (audio) \
plural enmities

Definition of enmity

: positive, active, and typically mutual hatred or ill will

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Choose the Right Synonym for enmity

enmity, hostility, antipathy, antagonism, animosity, rancor, animus mean deep-seated dislike or ill will. enmity suggests positive hatred which may be open or concealed. an unspoken enmity hostility suggests an enmity showing itself in attacks or aggression. hostility between the two nations antipathy and antagonism imply a natural or logical basis for one's hatred or dislike, antipathy suggesting repugnance, a desire to avoid or reject, and antagonism suggesting a clash of temperaments leading readily to hostility. a natural antipathy for self-seekers antagonism between the brothers animosity suggests intense ill will and vindictiveness that threaten to kindle hostility. animosity that led to revenge rancor is especially applied to bitter brooding over a wrong. rancor filled every line of his letters animus adds to animosity the implication of strong prejudice. objections devoid of personal animus

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Enmity and its synonyms "hostility," animosity, and animus all indicate deep-seated dislike or ill will. Enmity (which derives from an Anglo-French word meaning "enemy") suggests true hatred, either overt or concealed. Hostility implies strong, open enmity that shows itself in attacks or aggression. Animosity carries the sense of anger, vindictiveness, and sometimes the desire to destroy what one hates. Animus is generally less violent than animosity, but definitely conveys active prejudice or ill will.

Examples of enmity in a Sentence

Bin Laden may no longer be supplying directions and funding, but his ethos of enmity lives on. — Michael Hirsh et al., Newsweek, 10 June 2002 What has earned her the enmity of so many peers is her indiscriminate outspokenness. — Karen Springer, Newsweek, 10 June 1996 Battles over slavery in the territories broke the second party system apart and then shaped a realigned system that emphasized sectional enmity. — Mary Beth Norton et al., A People and a Nation, 1988 There's a long history of enmity between them. His comments earned him the enmity of his coworkers. We need to put aside old enmities for the sake of peace.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Anadolu Agency said she was found guilty of the charges of insulting the Turkish republic, state officials and Erdogan as well as making terrorist propaganda and inciting public enmity. Washington Post, "Turkey: Politician convicted for tweets insulting president," 6 Sep. 2019 To be sure, the depth of Arab enmity towards Israel varied by country. David Mednicoff, The Conversation, "Why increasing Arab-Israeli closeness matters," 29 Aug. 2019 Moderate voters are in the market for a politics of de-escalation, but conflict can’t be postponed forever if enmity runs deep enough. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "Can Joe Biden Be America’s New Great Compromiser?," 21 June 2019 Bolton repeatedly attacked the Obama administration and its willingness to restore diplomatic relations and limited economic ties to Havana in 2015 after decades of official enmity. Los Angeles Times, "Trump administration targets Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua with new sanctions," 17 Apr. 2019 Raisa earns the enmity of Arbatov by publicly berating him at a conference at Lewis and Clark College. oregonlive, "The book on Les AuCoin: Steve Duin," 14 Sep. 2019 Bercow has been in the powerful post since 2009, and had earned the enmity of many Conservative Party kingpins who, in a break with normal practice, were planning to challenge him at the next election, which is expected shortly. Washington Post, "End of an era: UK House Speaker John Bercow to step down," 9 Sep. 2019 Hammarskjöld had earned the enmity of the leaders of Belgium, France, and Great Britain, among other colonial powers, for his impassioned defense of the sovereign rights of African nations. Daphne Merkin, The New Republic, "Cold Case Hammarskjöld’s Artful Paranoia," 3 Sep. 2019 Biden’s generational case can be that Trump represents the final crest of an ongoing logic of escalation and enmity in America’s democracy. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "Can Joe Biden Be America’s New Great Compromiser?," 21 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'enmity.' 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 enmity

13th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for enmity

Middle English enmite, from Anglo-French enemité, enemisté, from enemi enemy

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Last Updated

15 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for enmity

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

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More Definitions for enmity



English Language Learners Definition of enmity

formal : a very deep unfriendly feeling


en·​mi·​ty | \ ˈen-mə-tē How to pronounce enmity (audio) \
plural enmities

Kids Definition of enmity

: hatred especially when shared : ill will

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More from Merriam-Webster on enmity

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for enmity

Spanish Central: Translation of enmity

Nglish: Translation of enmity for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of enmity for Arabic Speakers

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