in·​im·​i·​cal | \ i-ˈni-mi-kəl How to pronounce inimical (audio) \

Definition of inimical

1 : being adverse often by reason of hostility or malevolence forces inimical to democracy
2a : having the disposition of an enemy : hostile inimical factions
b : reflecting or indicating hostility : unfriendly his father's inimical glare

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Other Words from inimical

inimically \ i-​ˈni-​mi-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce inimical (audio) \ adverb

Did You Know?

In inimical, one finds both a friend and an enemy. The word descends from Latin inimicus, which combines amicus, meaning "friend," with the negative prefix in-, meaning "not." In current English, inimical rarely describes a person, however. Instead, it is generally used to describe forces, concepts, or situations that are in some way harmful or hostile. For example, high inflation may be called inimical to economic growth. Inimicus is also an ancestor of enemy, whereas amicus gave us the much more congenial amicable (meaning "friendly" or "peaceful") and amiable (meaning "agreeable" or "friendly").

Examples of inimical in a Sentence

received an inimical response rather than the anticipated support laws designed to enhance national security that some regard as inimical to cherished freedoms
Recent Examples on the Web To Christian families, this lawsuit serves as the latest exhibit in a long line of evidence that public schools are inimical to their faith. Cameron Hilditch, National Review, "Classroom Busybodies Ban a ‘Jesus Loves Me’ Mask," 13 Nov. 2020 Such concerns either seem irrelevant or inimical to the interests of Trump county residents. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, "Column: With Biden’s election, Democrats expanded their grip on the productive economy," 11 Nov. 2020 This is inimical to a rebalancing program but is more consistent with Mr. Xi’s authoritarian impulses. Joseph C. Sternberg, WSJ, "Beijing’s Covid Recovery Isn’t So Enviable," 22 Oct. 2020 This has occasionally led to fights with other conservatives, who regard some of the freshman senator’s proposals as inimical to free markets and limited government. W. James Antle Iii, Washington Examiner, "Josh Hawley, the populist policy wonk," 19 Oct. 2020 Furthermore, stigmatizing people for their weight would be inimical to the current reckoning with racial injustice, as African American women and Latino children are the most disproportionately affected by obesity in the United States. Chin Jou, Scientific American, "Another Misguided 'War' on Obesity," 23 Aug. 2020 Ron Taber, co-chairman of Latter-day Saint Democrats of America, told supporters during an online event Tuesday that Trump's policies on immigration and his response to the coronavirus are inimical to the Mormon faith. Nicholas Rowan, Washington Examiner, "Trump looks to Mormons to win Arizona," 11 Aug. 2020 Here science and faith are not seen as inimical to one another, but as working together, hand-in-glove. Tulasi Srinivas, The Conversation, "India’s goddesses of contagion provide protection in the pandemic – just don’t make them angry," 15 June 2020 The prosecution of them, for this reason, will seldom fail to agitate the passions of the whole community, and to divide it into parties more or less friendly or inimical to the accused. Dan Mclaughlin, National Review, "You Can’t Ignore Politics in Impeachment," 11 Oct. 2019

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

1573, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for inimical

Late Latin inimicalis, from Latin inimicus enemy — more at enemy

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Time Traveler for inimical

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The first known use of inimical was in 1573

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Last Updated

25 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Inimical.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for inimical


How to pronounce inimical (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of inimical

: likely to cause damage or have a bad effect
: not friendly

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