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

Keep scrolling for more

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 One analyst, an expert witness for Epic, estimated Apple’s margins in 2019 from the app store were 78%, versus 24% across the entire company. Andy Kessler, WSJ, "The No-Ownership Society," 9 May 2021 This time that gap remains wider than is typical at 3.6% for Black workers now compared to 1.9% reached in late 2019, and 1.3% versus 1.1% for Latino workers, according to our calculations from BLS data. Dana Peterson For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, "April's disappointing jobs report proves the Fed shouldn't hike rates," 8 May 2021 While occupancy in Orlando hotels exceeded the country — 57.8% here versus 54% around the U.S. — daily room rates in the theme park capital are down 9% from March of last year as hotels try to attract more travelers. Trevor Fraser,, "Orlando hotel revenues improve, but fall behind the national average," 5 May 2021 But for Indian Americans, a majority of whom are immigrants, the widely divergent realities unfolding in India versus the U.S. is disorienting and even guilt-inducing. Prachi Gupta, The Atlantic, "Indian Americans Are Stuck Between Hope and Despair," 1 May 2021 That essentially flips among urbanites, with 61% favoring new laws versus 34% for protecting gun rights. Allison De Jong, ABC News, "Half prioritize gun violence laws, down from its post-Parkland level: POLL," 28 Apr. 2021 Berkshire Hathaway's relative performance versus the S&P 500 (RS) has broken its steep downtrend (line b), and moved above its weighted moving average (WMA), but has not yet convincingly started a new uptrend. Tom Aspray, Forbes, "How Long Will Investors Forget About Inflation?," 18 Apr. 2021 Another study by Eli Lilly of its monoclonal antibody drug called bamlanivimab found that only 1.6% of patients who received it were hospitalized versus 6.3% who had the placebo. Cassidy Morrison, Washington Examiner, "Michigan to expand access to promising COVID antibody treatment amid surge," 17 Apr. 2021 Investment bank Jefferies estimates the global share of battery electric vehicles sold new this year will edge up nearly one percentage point to 3.6%, driven by demand in the European Union, where the mix will reach 8.3% versus just 2% for the U.S. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, "Mercedes-Benz unveils the new EQS sedan, its flagship electric car," 15 Apr. 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about versus

Time Traveler for versus

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for versus

Last Updated

11 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Versus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!