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

Definition of versus

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 That threshold may be 90 percent now, versus the 70 percent experts previously estimated. Apoorva Mandavilli, New York Times, "Discovery of Virus Variant in Colorado and California Alarms Scientists," 30 Dec. 2020 Apparel returns dropped to 13.5% of purchases through October versus 17% for the same period of 2019. Maria Halkias, Dallas News, "Surge in online gift shopping makes returns and exchanges a bigger deal this year," 29 Dec. 2020 The survey also showed a divide in who was sending children back to school: 88% of White respondents said kids were doing in-person learning, versus 70% of Black families. Della Hasselle | Staff Writer,, "New Orleans parents generally happy with how schools handled coronavirus, new survey shows," 22 Dec. 2020 By age 55, about 76% of Black men and women develop high blood pressure, versus 54% of white men and 40% of white women, which increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Akilah Johnson, ProPublica, "How COVID-19 Hollowed Out a Generation of Young Black Men," 22 Dec. 2020 Snowboard manufacturing giant Burton is selling its splitboards faster than regular boards this year, with 63 percent sold-through versus 39 percent last year, said Chris Cunningham, Burton's senior vice president of global product. NBC News, "Backcountry skiing — and equipment — see surge in interest as ski resorts limit crowds," 21 Dec. 2020 So far this year, just 287 funds set the 2020 total, versus 589 funds in 2018. Anne Sraders, Fortune, "It’s the age of the mega fund," 25 Nov. 2020 That is especially true this season as the Bruins have committed at least three turnovers in each of their three losses versus giving it away once in three wins. Mark Heim |, al, "Stanford-UCLA live stream (12/19): How to watch online, TV, time," 19 Dec. 2020 An NBC News analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics compared unemployment levels in November versus a year ago. NBC News, "2020 was the year the jobs went away. But when will they come back?," 17 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for versus

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for versus

Last Updated

11 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Versus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for versus

How to pronounce versus (audio) How to pronounce versus (audio)

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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Comments on versus

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