opponent

noun
op·​po·​nent | \ ə-ˈpō-nənt How to pronounce opponent (audio) \

Definition of opponent

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : one that takes an opposite position (as in a debate, contest, or conflict) She is a formidable opponent in the race for senator. opponents of the war
2 : a muscle that opposes or counteracts and limits the action of another

opponent

adjective

Definition of opponent (Entry 2 of 2)

2 : situated in front

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for opponent

Synonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of opponent in a Sentence

Noun She is a formidable opponent in the race for senator. The team's opponents have not lost a game this season. He knocked out his opponent in the third round.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Coglianese will see a familiar face on the other side of the net when Gannon plays conference opponent Lock Haven. Gregg Voss, chicagotribune.com, "Shortened volleyball season meeting expectations for Lyons’ Molly Corrough — including a big win over rival Hinsdale Central," 11 Apr. 2021 The Minutemen, reduced to firing popguns, were everyone’s favorite opponent. BostonGlobe.com, "To get to the Frozen Four, UMass has learned how to play a relentless game," 11 Apr. 2021 Toronto made its first 12 shots and broke the Cavaliers' opponent records for points in the first quarter and in any half. Brian Dulik, Star Tribune, "Trent scores career-high 44, Raptors rout Cavaliers 135-115," 10 Apr. 2021 Not so certain the Suns will have it at that level for every opponent on this five-game homestand. Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, "Phoenix Suns: Revisiting big back-to-back split vs. Jazz, Clippers, ahead to five-game homestand," 10 Apr. 2021 Loyola is seeking another opponent this weekend, but is scheduled to host Bucknell 6 p.m. on Saturday. Baltimore Sun Staff, baltimoresun.com, "Mount St. Mary’s wins ninth straight game | WOMEN’S COLLEGE LACROSSE," 10 Apr. 2021 The endorsement normally came shortly before the election and was more or less the three-fold Amen to a litany of editorials supporting the future endorsee and/or politely disparaging the worthy opponent or issue during the campaign. Arkansas Online, "Greenberg a friend for life," 10 Apr. 2021 For a time, Pelosi would be just about Trump's only regular opponent who didn't become the target of a derisive nickname on his Twitter feed. USA Today, "Exclusive: How Donald Trump upended Nancy Pelosi’s plans, then she unraveled his," 9 Apr. 2021 Both have been vocal opponent’s Biden’s cancelation of Keystone XL, which would have run from Alberta in western Canada to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast. Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner, "Daily on Energy: Kerry suggests that carbon pricing isn’t totally off the Biden agenda," 9 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Outside groups as well as the campaigns of Peters and his opponent Republican John James have spent over $16 million this year in ad reservations, according to data from Kantar/CMAG. Caitlin Conant, CBS News, "2020 Daily Trail Markers: 20 million more now eligible for Obamacare coverage," 13 May 2020 The Cowboys rank a respectable 42nd in opponent field-goal percentage and 85th in 3-point percentage, and the Mountaineers are 253rd and 316th in field-goal percentage and 3-point percentage. Geoff Clark, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Oklahoma State at West Virginia college basketball odds, picks and best bets," 18 Feb. 2020 In four of Iowa’s five losses, opponent field-goal and 3-point accuracy rates have been so high as to peg the Hawkeyes as being somewhat unlucky in bumping up against a couple too many incredible shooting nights. Marcus Mosher, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Michigan at Iowa college basketball odds, picks and best bets," 17 Jan. 2020 The Lions play host to local rival Athens Bible in an area game Monday at 7 p.m. Whitesburg will host area opponent Oakwood Adventist on Tuesday. al, "Lindsay Lane’s Tommy Murr scores 52 points in victory," 10 Jan. 2020 Where Manchester City’s great strength is in making itself look good, at least part of Liverpool’s success can be explained by its capacity to make its opponent look bad. Rory Smith, New York Times, "Liverpool’s Opponents: So Close, So Far, So Frustrated," 18 Oct. 2019 The Lions have surrendered only four passing touchdowns through four games, and their opponent passer rating is 80.3. Brad Biggs, chicagotribune.com, "NFL power rankings for Week 5: Bears move back into the top 10 after their 3rd straight win," 1 Oct. 2019 On the other side of the ball, the Blazers’ defense held South Alabama to a measly 2-of-11 on third-down conversions and are now allowing a 21.4 percent opponent conversion rate (9-of-42) for the season. Evan Dudley, al, "Instant analysis: UAB blows out South Alabama at home," 21 Sep. 2019 But ex-Invicta champ Felicia Spencer accomplished her goal of making her opponent look human. Steven Marrocco, MMA Junkie, "UFC 240 results: Cris Cyborg cut, but outworks gritty Felicia Spencer," 28 July 2019

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

Noun

1553, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1647, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for opponent

Noun

borrowed from Medieval Latin oppōnent-, oppōnens "one who proposes something for discussion," from present participle of Latin oppōnere "to place as an obstacle, set in opposition to, argue in reply" — more at oppose

Adjective

borrowed from Latin oppōnent-, oppōnens, present participle of oppōnere "to place as an obstacle, set in opposition to, argue in reply" — more at oppose

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about opponent

Time Traveler for opponent

Time Traveler

The first known use of opponent was in 1553

See more words from the same year

Statistics for opponent

Last Updated

14 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Opponent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/opponent. Accessed 16 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for opponent

opponent

noun

English Language Learners Definition of opponent

: a person, team, group, etc., that is competing against another in a contest
: a person, group, etc., that is against something (such as an action, law, or system) : someone or something that does not want something to exist, be done, etc.

opponent

noun
op·​po·​nent | \ ə-ˈpō-nənt How to pronounce opponent (audio) \

Kids Definition of opponent

: a person or thing that takes an opposite position in a contest, fight, or controversy

opponent

noun
op·​po·​nent | \ ə-ˈpō-nənt How to pronounce opponent (audio) \

Medical Definition of opponent

: a muscle that opposes or counteracts and limits the action of another

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on opponent

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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