op·​po·​si·​tion | \ˌä-pə-ˈzi-shən \

Definition of opposition 

1 : 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

2 : the relation between two propositions having the same subject and predicate but differing in quantity or quality or both

3 : an act of setting opposite or over against : the condition of being so set He spoke in opposition to the new law.

4 : hostile or contrary action or condition offered strong opposition to the advance of the enemy

5a : something that opposes specifically : a body of persons opposing something Each candidate is focused on raising more money than the opposition.

b often capitalized : a political party opposing and prepared to replace the party in power The opposition is likely to win the upcoming election.

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Other Words from opposition

oppositional \ˌä-​pə-​ˈzish-​nəl, -​ˈzi-​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for opposition


contrariety, contrariness, oppositeness, polarity


identicalness, sameness

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Facebook later hired an outside firm to conduct opposition research on Soros, leading to a campaign to feed reporters with information about the investor’s funding of groups critical of Facebook. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg asked for George Soros research," 30 Nov. 2018 The admission came in an internal memo obtained by TechCrunch, in which Schrage defended the use of the firm to conduct opposition research. Jon Porter, The Verge, "Facebook’s outgoing head of public policy takes blame for Definers scandal," 21 Nov. 2018 The flag was originally raised in 1961 as a statement of opposition to the Civil Rights Movement and lunch counter sit-ins occurring at the time. Bree Newsome, SELF, "The 2018 Midterm Elections Proved That Change Must Happen from the Ground Up," 15 Nov. 2018 The emails show that Stauber requested opposition research on Democratic U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan in August 2017, ahead of a congressional field hearing in Duluth on veterans’ health care issues. Steve Karnowski, The Seattle Times, "Under court order, Stauber emails with GOP group released," 30 Oct. 2018 Then, on Monday, the National Center for Transgender Equality is organizing a rally for trans rights at the White House to give the Trump administration a close-up look at the opposition to this memo. Allure, "6 Ways to Support Transgender and Nonbinary People Right Now," 21 Oct. 2018 The 82nd airborne is the kind of unit that would jump behind enemy lines to surprise the opposition and seize ground ahead of other American forces. Andrew Moseman, Popular Mechanics, "U.S. Paratroopers Are Training to Jump With Surface-To-Air Missiles," 14 Aug. 2018 According to NBC News, that's the highest level of support registered for the decision (and the lowest percentage of opposition at just 23 percent) in the poll's history, which goes back to 2005. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "More Than Half of Republicans Support Roe v. Wade," 24 July 2018 In order to steal a large number of documents without detection, the indictment says, the Russians used a publicly available technology tool to gather and compress files, including opposition research, from DNC networks. chicagotribune.com, "Illinois elections board 'very likely' named in Mueller indictment of Russian hackers, officials say," 13 July 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for opposition

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

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Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for opposition

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

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More Definitions for opposition



English Language Learners Definition of opposition

: actions or opinions that show that you disagree with or disapprove of someone or something

: action that is done to stop or defeat someone or something

the opposition : a person or group that you are trying to defeat or succeed against : a person or group that you are competing with


op·​po·​si·​tion | \ˌä-pə-ˈzi-shən \

Kids Definition of opposition

1 : the state of disagreeing with or disapproving of He voiced his opposition.

2 : the action of resisting The proposal met with fierce opposition.

3 : a group of people that disagree with, disapprove of, or resist someone or something

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to enclose within walls

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