op·​pose ə-ˈpōz How to pronounce oppose (audio)
opposed; opposing

transitive verb

: to place over against something so as to provide resistance, counterbalance, or contrast
one military force opposed to another
concreteness as opposed to abstractionL. E. Lynch
: to place opposite or against something
oppose the enemy
oppose a congressional bill
: to offer resistance to
opposer noun
Choose the Right Synonym for oppose

oppose, combat, resist, withstand mean to set oneself against someone or something.

oppose can apply to any conflict, from mere objection to bitter hostility or warfare.

opposed the plan

combat stresses the forceful or urgent countering of something.

combat disease

resist implies an overt recognition of a hostile or threatening force and a positive effort to counteract or repel it.

resisting temptation

withstand suggests a more passive resistance.

trying to withstand peer pressure

Examples of oppose in a Sentence

The governor opposes the death penalty. The change is opposed by many of the town's business leaders. The group opposes the mayor and is trying to find a candidate to run against her. You've opposed every suggestion I've made. He met the man who will oppose him in the next election. These two teams opposed each other in last year's playoffs. We're hoping we can get more senators to oppose the legislation. See More
Recent Examples on the Web More than 4,000 online public comments on the utility’s proposal have been submitted to the state utilities commission, the vast majority opposed. Ethan Baron, The Mercury News, 28 Feb. 2024 Young people – another core Democratic voting bloc – also overwhelmingly oppose Biden’s handling of the conflict. USA TODAY, 27 Feb. 2024 Former President Donald Trump, who is the frontrunner to become the Republican nominee for this year's presidential election, opposes the package. Tamara Keith, NPR, 27 Feb. 2024 But former president Donald Trump opposed the deal, and Senate Republicans flipped and followed suit — casting the future of American support for Ukraine in grave doubt. Jacob Bogage, Washington Post, 27 Feb. 2024 Independent grocery stores strongly opposed the merger. Nathaniel Meyersohn, CNN, 27 Feb. 2024 San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond, a Republican, opposes using county funds to manage the street releases. Calmatters, Orange County Register, 27 Feb. 2024 The series explores the many contrasts between Japanese and Western cultures through Mariko and Blackthorne’s opposing personal philosophies: Noble suffering versus unfettered self-determination. Kristen Baldwin, EW.com, 27 Feb. 2024 Jensen's relatives opposed Creech's bid for clemency. CBS News, 26 Feb. 2024 See More

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

Word History


Middle English opposen "to question, examine, accuse" (as past participle opposed "opposite, contrary"), borrowed from Anglo-French opposer "to counter, argue in opposition, question, interrogate," re-formation, with poser "to place, pose entry 1," of Latin oppōnere (perfect opposuī, past participle oppositus) "to place (over or against), place as an obstacle, set in opposition to, argue in reply," from ob- ob- + pōnere "to place, set" — more at position entry 1

First Known Use

1579, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of oppose was in 1579

Dictionary Entries Near oppose

Cite this Entry

“Oppose.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oppose. Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


op·​pose ə-ˈpōz How to pronounce oppose (audio)
opposed; opposing
: to be or place opposite or against something
: to offer resistance to : stand against : resist

Medical Definition


transitive verb
op·​pose ə-ˈpōz How to pronounce oppose (audio)
opposed; opposing
: to place the ball of (a first digit) against the corresponding part of a second digit of the same hand or foot
some monkeys oppose the big toe

More from Merriam-Webster on oppose

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