op·​po·​si·​tion ˌä-pə-ˈzi-shən How to pronounce opposition (audio)
: a configuration (see configuration sense 1b) in which one celestial (see celestial entry 1 sense 2) body is opposite another (such as the sun) in the sky or in which the elongation (see elongation sense 1) is near or equal to 180 degrees
: the relation between two propositions having the same subject and predicate but differing in quantity or quality or both
: an act of setting opposite or over against : the condition of being so set
He spoke in opposition to the new law.
: hostile or contrary action or condition
offered strong opposition to the advance of the enemy
: something that opposes
specifically : a body of persons opposing something
Each candidate is focused on raising more money than the opposition.
often capitalized : a political party opposing and prepared to replace the party in power
The opposition is likely to win the upcoming election.
oppositional adjective

Examples of opposition in a Sentence

They're going ahead with the plans despite strong opposition from residents. The nominee faces strong opposition in the Senate. The proposed change has met with opposition from the town's business leaders. Rebels have so far offered little opposition to advancing troops. Each candidate is focused on raising more money than the opposition. The coach advised her team not to underestimate the opposition. The leader of the Opposition criticized the prime minister for his comments. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Buck has been vocal in his opposition to the plan, accusing McCarthy of using impeachment talk to distract from government spending bills. Tori Otten, The New Republic, 12 Sep. 2023 The disdain for President Allende among conservatives was no secret; neither was the White House’s opposition to him. Stephania Taladrid, The New Yorker, 11 Sep. 2023 The two men represented different sides of a broader dispute involving governments in opposition across the Atlantic Ocean as well as competing philosophies on shipwrecks, a fray that Washington rejoined in recent days. Catherine Porter, New York Times, 11 Sep. 2023 Those sitting near Biden included Secretary of State Antony Blinken and special climate envoy John F. Kerry, whose political career was marked by his service in the Vietnam War and then his opposition to it. Matt Viser and Meryl Kornfield, Anchorage Daily News, 10 Sep. 2023 Some opposition politicians said the government’s use of Bharat was a response to the formation of the INDIA alliance. Rhea Mogul, CNN, 9 Sep. 2023 The bill has evoked significant opposition from environmental groups, including the Arizona Mining Reform Coalition and the Center for Biological Diversity. Brandon Loomis, The Arizona Republic, 8 Sep. 2023 The allure of an undefeated season is undeniable, but coaches know testing their teams against top opposition, including in higher classifications, is often the best way to prepare for a deep playoff run. Greg McKenna, Dallas News, 8 Sep. 2023 The Florida governor, who is also running for the Republican 2024 presidential nomination, also touted the state’s law enforcement officials during the Thursday press conference, which centered around DeSantis’ opposition to COVID-19 pandemic measures. Marina Pitofsky, USA TODAY, 7 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'opposition.' 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 opposicioun "location opposite something, contrary opinion, opposition of celestial bodies," borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French oposicion (Anglo-French opposicion "objection, questioning"), borrowed from Medieval Latin oppositiōn-, oppositiō, going back to Late Latin, "contradiction, antithesis" (loan translation of Greek antíthesis), from Latin opposi-, variant stem of oppōnere "to place (over or against), place as an obstacle, set in opposition to, argue in reply" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action — more at oppose

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of opposition was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near opposition

Cite this Entry

“Opposition.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/opposition. Accessed 3 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


op·​po·​si·​tion ˌäp-ə-ˈzish-ən How to pronounce opposition (audio)
: the state of being opposite
: the action of resisting
offer opposition to a plan
the opposition of two forces
: a group of persons (as a team or an enemy force) that oppose someone or something
often capitalized : a political party opposing the party in power

More from Merriam-Webster on opposition

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