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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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 But Chicago owes its reputation as a concert hub to a constellation of independent promoters and venues, and Live Nation has proved itself inimical to their existence. Leor Galil, Chicago Reader, "Music / News Colossal concert promoter Live Nation adds its financial muscle to the Lincoln Yards development," 17 May 2018 The book asked why residents in the heartland kept voting for politicians espousing policies that were inimical to their own welfare—chiefly conservative Republicans hostile to economic policies and government programs that the voters needed. Michael Hiltzik,, "Yes, Pelosi and McCarthy represent two different Californias — but why do they serve each other's voters?," 15 May 2018 Of course, public opinion, left or right, that certain types of speech are inimical to civil discourse doesn't necessarily translate into censorship, as a mountain of court cases demonstrates. Mari Uyehara, GQ, "How Free Speech Warriors Mainstreamed White Supremacists," 8 May 2018 Seeing evidence inimical to your views arouses feelings of aversion, suspicion, perhaps even outrage. Robert Wright, WIRED, "Why Pure Reason Won’t End American Tribalism," 9 Apr. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about inimical

Listen to Our Podcast about inimical

Statistics for inimical

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for inimical

The first known use of inimical was in 1573

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for inimical



English Language Learners Definition of inimical

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on inimical

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


food or victuals

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

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!