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

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 These include knowing when to listen versus when to speak, knowing your audience, and speaking with confidence and credibility. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 19 May 2022 Turnout was a higher-than-usual 67 percent of eligible voters, versus 52 percent in the 2018 election that gave Jensa his plurality. Peter Weber, The Week, 24 Apr. 2022 Her scrupulous investigation reveals a conflict much more complicated than Africa versus the West. Julian Lucas, The New Yorker, 14 Apr. 2022 In Hungary, an election that would have determined the country’s path toward further autocracy or liberal democracy has been overshadowed by talk of war and peace and East versus West. Yasmeen Serhan, The Atlantic, 3 Apr. 2022 Differences in the pattern of corporate disengagement can be attributed to differences in the public understanding of the situation in Russia versus the West. Fortune, 7 Mar. 2022 Beware of investments that are doing things to appear to be good versus actually making an impact. Laurence Darmientostaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 6 May 2022 The labor-force participation rate—the share of workers with a job or actively looking for one—was 62.2% last month versus 63.4% in February 2020. Justin Lahart, WSJ, 6 May 2022 Consumers are 10 times more likely to rank quality and value as the most important brand attribute, versus the brand’s impact on the community. Forrester, Forbes, 6 May 2022 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for versus

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near versus



versus caudati

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Statistics for versus

Last Updated

23 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Versus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for versus


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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