ver·​sus | \ ˈvər-səs How to pronounce versus (audio) , -səz How to pronounce versus (audio) \

Definition of versus

1 : against
2 : in contrast to or as the alternative of free trade versus protection

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Abbreviating Versus

In a number of areas the English language is possessed of an embarrassment of riches, with multiple synonyms or abbreviations for a word. One such case is versus, which is often written in a shortened form. You may choose between vs, vs., and v. Take care, when writing the word out in full, that you distinguish between versus (a preposition meaning “against”) and verses (“lines of metrical writing”).

Examples of versus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Childs compared those falling hailstones to dropping a bowling ball versus a baseball. Jodi Torpey, The Denver Post, "Colorado’s future holds more and bigger hail, CSU weather researcher says," 12 June 2019 The larger issue is about the line between news versus opinion on cable networks, including CNN. Brian Stelter, CNN, "MSNBC and New York Times at odds over reporter appearances on Maddow," 11 June 2019 According to Keller, the licensing is different for wild versus domestic animals. Emily K. Coleman, Lake County News-Sun, "After social media debate, family of ducks led from Gurnee-area school courtyard to wooded area," 10 June 2019 The costs versus benefits of short-term rentals may vary significantly between cities. K.c. Alfred / The San Diego Union-tribune, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Should Sacramento control short-term rentals, Airbnb in San Diego County?," 7 June 2019 One potential risk is graft versus host disease, when the immune cells from the donor attack the recipient’s cells, according to Stanford. Tatiana Sanchez,, "Vietnamese men denied visas for life-saving transplant for brother in San Jose," 7 June 2019 This followed the 2014 Animal Welfare Board of India versus Nagaraja ruling that not only humans but animals, too, had the right to dignity and fair treatment as per article 21 of India’s constitution. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz India, "Birds to holy rivers: A list of everything India considers “legal persons”," 6 June 2019 Now on a break from United, her first World Cup match with play-by-play partner Jenn Hildreth is South Africa versus Spain on FOX at 11 am. Andy Greder, Twin Cities, "Stillwater native, United announcer Kyndra de St. Aubin preps for second Women’s World Cup," 6 June 2019 Kinberg could have opted for a back-to-basics heroes versus baddies approach. Keith Phipps, The Verge, "In Dark Phoenix, the X-Men franchise is still Marvel’s weird, mutant cinematic stepchild," 5 June 2019

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for versus

Middle English, from Medieval Latin, towards, against, from Latin, adverb, so as to face, from past participle of vertere to turn

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Learn More about versus

Dictionary Entries near versus





versus caudati



Statistics for versus

Last Updated

16 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for versus

The first known use of versus was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for versus



English Language Learners Definition of versus

used to indicate the two people, teams, etc., that are fighting or competing against each other or that are opposed to each other in a legal case abbr. vs., v.
used to indicate two different things, choices, etc., that are being compared or considered


ver·​sus | \ ˈvər-səs How to pronounce versus (audio) \

Kids Definition of versus

: against sense 1 our football team versus theirs

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More from Merriam-Webster on versus

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with versus

Spanish Central: Translation of versus

Nglish: Translation of versus for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of versus for Arabic Speakers

Comments on versus

What made you want to look up versus? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


showing courage and determination

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