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 inimically (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 Ultimately, money that persists everlasting is inimical to an ecological economy. Charles Eisenstein, Quartz, "How a game of musical chairs can help explain our broken economy," 27 Aug. 2019 Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk, who’s famously inimical to critiques on Twitter, acknowledged in June that a lack of service centers in Germany was hampering the company’s growth there. Los Angeles Times, "In Germany, Tesla buyers complain about service and quality," 16 Aug. 2019 These are dying efforts of frustrated inimical forces while Pakistan moves from stability to enduring peace. Sophia Saifi, CNN, "Ten Pakistani soldiers gunned down, military says," 27 July 2019 Mass popular referenda, held at regular intervals, would annul laws considered inimical to the public interest and, presumably, enact laws for the good of all the people. Christopher Ketcham, Harper's magazine, "A Play with No End," 22 July 2019 The #BelieveSurvivors mantra is a cornerstone of the campus grievance industry but inimical to everything that a law school should teach. Heather Mac Donald, WSJ, "Tomorrow’s Elite Lawyers Disavow Due Process," 4 Oct. 2018 But a plan as inimical to Israel as Mr. Trump’s appears to be will have major negative implications not only for the Jewish state but for Mr. Trump’s re-election hopes. Daniel Pipes, WSJ, "Trump’s Mideast ‘Deal of the Century’ May Be a Raw One for Israel," 23 Jan. 2019 This idea tends to be a dismaying possibility to science-fiction authors like me (and is inimical to the entire premise of my first novel!). Rob Reid, Ars Technica, "Ars on your lunch break, week 4: Some possible solutions to Fermi’s Paradox," 12 July 2018 But his habit of going out of his way to endorse world leaders inimical to Western democracy never stops being stunning. Benjamin Hart, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump Congratulates Hungarian Quasi-Dictator on Election Victory," 16 June 2018

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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Cite this Entry

“Inimical.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 18 January 2020.

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on inimical

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for inimical

Spanish Central: Translation of inimical

Nglish: Translation of inimical for Spanish Speakers

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