op·po·nent | \ə-ˈpō-nənt \

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



Definition of opponent (Entry 2 of 2)

2 : situated in front

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Synonyms & Antonyms for opponent

Synonyms: Noun

adversary, antagonist, enemy, foe, hostile

Antonyms: Noun

amigo, friend

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Examples of opponent in a Sentence


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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The videographer, Tavish Campbell, spokesman for Wild First, is an opponent of open-net-pen salmon farms and contends the effluent is harmful to wild salmon. Anchorage Daily News, "Audit finds 70 percent of British Columbia fish-processing plants do not comply with environmental regulations," 8 July 2018 Who has been docked money in the past for offenses such as crude comments about an opponent’s girlfriend or quitting during a match for no apparent reason. Howard Fendrich, The Seattle Times, "Kyrgios tells it like it is after 42-ace Wimbledon victory," 3 July 2018 According to Channel 2 Action News, Gregory’s leg was grabbed by an opponent during the fourth quarter, and adults came out of the stands. Steve Burns, ajc, "Texas coach: Account of brawl at AAU girls game ‘totally false’," 29 June 2018 During a slide tackle, arriving to the ball a split-second sooner can mean the difference between a clean steal and a foul (not to mention a jarring collision with an opponent). Daniel Ackerman, Scientific American, "Avoiding the “Bobblehead Effect”: Strength Training Could Help Soccer Players," 29 June 2018 Alcantara has 64 strikeouts and 34 walks and opponents are hitting .238 against him. Andre C. Fernandez, miamiherald, "Marlins bringing up club's top pitching prospect Sandy Alcantara to make his debut," 27 June 2018 Crowley has been in Congress since 1999 and hadn't faced an opponent in a primary election since 2004 when Ocasio-Cortez was just a teenager. Deepti Hajela, The Christian Science Monitor, "US Rep. Joe Crowley concedes to newcomer in NY Democratic primary," 27 June 2018 He was stripped of his captaincy and suspended for a half for punching an opponent in the groin in December. Tom Orsborn, San Antonio Express-News, "Nigerian childhood paved way for Metu’s NBA journey," 26 June 2018 In his home ballpark, Marquez has a 7.45 ERA, and his opponents are hitting .331 against him. Mike Persak, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Preview: Marlins at Rockies, Sunday, 3:10 p.m.," 23 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The Colts rank fourth in the NFL in opponent kickoff-return average, a product of Sanchez’s savvy as a kickoff specialist. Stephen Holder, Indianapolis Star, "Colts' thumbs up, down: Jack Doyle, Jabaal Sheard starred this season," 1 Jan. 2018 The Lady Rams sank 85.7% (6-7) of their free throws and lost a Badgers-opponent season-high 26 turnovers to a season-high 14 steals by SHC. Spring Hill College Athletics, AL.com, "Spring Hill women continue to roll with 73-46 win over Mobile," 24 Jan. 2018 Milwaukee has cut opponent three-point attempts from 27.4 per game in the first 18 contests to 23.3 in the past seven. Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Bucks are on a roll since getting back to basics in Berkeley," 10 Dec. 2017 His style is more along the lines of Floyd Mayweather Jr. — avoid contact, make the opponent look bad and win on points — which, to fans who thrive on continuous action and massive fistic exchanges, does not sit well. Bob Velin, USA TODAY, "Lomachenko vs. Rigondeaux: Historic fight with great expectations," 8 Dec. 2017 Another highlight on the slate is a trip to Tuscon, Ariz., to play Pac-12 opponent Arizona on Dec. 3. Tod Leonard, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Bahamas trip included in schedule for SDSU women's basketball," 9 Aug. 2017 Milpitas was scheduled to host Mission San Jose at SummitPointe Golf Course on Wednesday and to play league opponent Wilcox at Santa Clara Golf and Tennis Club on Thursday. Julian Ramos, The Mercury News, "Milpitas: Trojans baseball tops Branham High," 23 Mar. 2017

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.

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First Known Use of opponent


1553, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1647, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for opponent


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


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

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Statistics for opponent

Last Updated

9 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for opponent

The first known use of opponent was in 1553

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More Definitions for opponent



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.


op·po·nent | \ə-ˈpō-nənt \

Kids Definition of opponent

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


op·po·nent | \ə-ˈpō-nənt \

Medical Definition of opponent 

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

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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).


not any or not one

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