opponent

1 of 2

noun

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

2 of 2

adjective

1
2
: situated in front

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
The exceptions were Bill Clinton in 1992 and Donald Trump in 2016, both running against unpopular opponents with strong third-party candidates in the mix. Philip Bump, Washington Post, 12 July 2024 The president mixed up his opponent and vice president, an ally and an enemy. Candy Woodall, Baltimore Sun, 12 July 2024
Adjective
Detroit ranked 26th in opponent yards per play and 30th in opponent yards per pass. Hank Gola, New York Daily News, 12 Jan. 2024 Elite at guarding the long ball: K-State ranks No. 38 in opponent three-point percentage (31.1). Shreyas Laddha, Kansas City Star, 5 Mar. 2024 See all Example Sentences for opponent 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'opponent.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

Noun

1553, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1647, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of opponent was in 1553

Dictionary Entries Near opponent

Cite this Entry

“Opponent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/opponent. Accessed 20 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

opponent

noun
op·​po·​nent
ə-ˈpō-nənt
: a person or thing that opposes another

Medical Definition

opponent

noun
op·​po·​nent ə-ˈpō-nənt How to pronounce opponent (audio)
: a muscle that opposes or counteracts and limits the action of another

More from Merriam-Webster on opponent

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