en·​mi·​ty | \ˈen-mə-tē \
plural enmities

Definition of enmity 

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Did You Know?

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

The ensuing back-and-forth between the clubs led into the finale of their season series, pitting Cole against Bauer, whose enmity dating to college has been well-documented. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "Trevor Bauer-Gerrit Cole showdown: Indians starter dominates; both get no-decision," 27 May 2018 America is worried that the enmity among its allies is damaging its effort to increase economic and political pressure on Iran. The Economist, "Cold war in the heatWhy Gulf countries are feuding with Qatar," 21 June 2018 Despite the Koreas’ longstanding enmity, South Koreans often cheer for the North’s athletes in international competition. Choe Sang-hun And David E. Sanger, New York Times, "North Korea Moves Toward Détente With Seoul," 9 Jan. 2018 Ethiopian and Eritrean leaders formally restored relations Monday, ending 20 years of enmity. Washington Post, "World Digest: July 9, 2018," 9 July 2018 Later, at the American Embassy in Brazil, Mr. Carlucci incurred the enmity of colleagues by overseeing large staff cuts. Robert D. Mcfadden, New York Times, "Frank C. Carlucci, Diplomat and Defense Secretary to Reagan, Dies at 87," 4 June 2018 Mr Iqbal’s outspoken defence of minorities has earned him the enmity of Muslim radicals. The Economist, "Politics this week," 10 May 2018 In the early 1960s, there was a bitter rift because of personal enmity between President John F. Kennedy and Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, who balked at U.S. pressure to be more aggressive in Cold War maneuverings. Rob Gillies And David Crary, Houston Chronicle, "Canada-US relations at a low after Trudeau-Trump trade tiff," 17 June 2018 Let the ruins, perched high above Madrid, serve as a warning to a nation riven by enmity and to any citizen who might wish for a dictator like Franco, a murderous strongman who would try to wring immortality from a shrine full of the dead. Matías Costa, Smithsonian, "The Battle Over the Memory of the Spanish Civil War," 28 June 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about enmity

Listen to Our Podcast about enmity

Dictionary Entries near enmity

en masse







Statistics for enmity

Last Updated

12 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for enmity

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for enmity



English Language Learners Definition of enmity

: a very deep unfriendly feeling


en·​mi·​ty | \ˈen-mə-tē \
plural enmities

Kids Definition of enmity

: hatred especially when shared : ill will

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on enmity

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


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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