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 His dedication to a sound dollar earned him the enmity of many Democrats. Roger Lowenstein, Washington Post, "How Paul Volcker beat inflation and saved an independent Fed," 10 Dec. 2019 Eran Davidi, a long-time confidante of Saar’s, said the two men have not met in five years and the enmity was likely to cost Saar a Cabinet post if Netanyahu succeeds in forming another government. Aron Heller, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Israel’s Gideon Saar challenges lengthy Netanyahu Likud rule," 7 Oct. 2019 As for just how old a nemesis Dallas might actually be to the New England quarterback - well, the enmity apparently goes back 42 years and 109 days. Des Bieler, chicagotribune.com, "Tom Brady says he’s disliked the Dallas Cowboys ‘since coming out of the womb’," 21 Nov. 2019 Meanwhile, ties between Gulf Arab states and Israel slowly warm over their mutual enmity of Iran, though concerns about the future of the Palestinians remain a wedge. Washington Post, "Secret synagogue in Dubai prays for Persian Gulf revival," 25 Oct. 2019 The driver for much of this is Saudi Arabia, and its enmity toward Iran. David Mednicoff, The Conversation, "Why increasing Arab-Israeli closeness matters," 29 Aug. 2019 But their enmity has been fostered, and perhaps even brought into being, by outside forces. The Economist, "Killings in Congo’s north-east spark fears of a return to war," 13 July 2019 The calendar tells us it’s September and history tells us this is a series of enmity, one that is supposed to get even meaner when the season is in its final throes. Tara Sullivan, BostonGlobe.com, "Moments to savor for Red Sox have been precious and few," 7 Sep. 2019 The drama of his exit made clear the enmity that now lies between him and the president. Ishaan Tharoor, The Denver Post, "Guest Commentary: Trump axes Bolton, the hawk he brought to the White House," 11 Sep. 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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Time Traveler for enmity

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

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Last Updated

24 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Enmity.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/enmity. Accessed 28 January 2020.

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More Definitions for enmity


How to pronounce enmity (audio)

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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showing steady, earnest care and effort

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