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

Other Words from inimical

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

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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 English 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 Omarova noted that Congress constantly outlaws some banking activities that could theoretically be described as legitimate business dealings, such as money laundering and terrorist financing, to be socially inimical and thus, yes, sub-optimal. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 22 Nov. 2021 Such a culture is inimical to satisfying the needs of digital business and its customers. Mark A. Cohen, Forbes, 4 Oct. 2021 The idea of military glory was inimical to his and Jeanne-Claude’s conception of art, to their sense of freedom and beauty and their longing for a shared humanity. Washington Post, 20 Sep. 2021 Academic life is inimical to the Taliban’s ideology, Mashal says. Richard Stone, Science | AAAS, 20 Aug. 2021 The trope tends to elegize artists who are perceived to be ahead of their time or otherwise inimical to regnant conventions. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, 19 July 2021 This is inimical to the development of a team mindset. Mark A. Cohen, Forbes, 18 May 2021 And Roenne’s daughter believes deliberate deception to be inimical to her father’s moral code. Sigrid Macrae, Harper's Magazine, 16 Mar. 2021 In other words, repealing the estate tax would be a massive handout to rich families, enabling them to concentrate their wealth to an extent the Founding Fathers found inimical to society. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 10 Mar. 2021

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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The first known use of inimical was in 1573

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Last Updated

14 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Inimical.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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English Language Learners Definition of inimical

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

More from Merriam-Webster on inimical

Nglish: Translation of inimical for Spanish Speakers


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