op·​pose ə-ˈpōz How to pronounce oppose (audio)
opposed; opposing

transitive verb

: to place over against something so as to provide resistance, counterbalance, or contrast
one military force opposed to another
concreteness as opposed to abstractionL. E. Lynch
: to place opposite or against something
oppose the enemy
oppose a congressional bill
: to offer resistance to
opposer noun
Choose the Right Synonym for oppose

oppose, combat, resist, withstand mean to set oneself against someone or something.

oppose can apply to any conflict, from mere objection to bitter hostility or warfare.

opposed the plan

combat stresses the forceful or urgent countering of something.

combat disease

resist implies an overt recognition of a hostile or threatening force and a positive effort to counteract or repel it.

resisting temptation

withstand suggests a more passive resistance.

trying to withstand peer pressure

Examples of oppose in a Sentence

The governor opposes the death penalty. The change is opposed by many of the town's business leaders. The group opposes the mayor and is trying to find a candidate to run against her. You've opposed every suggestion I've made. He met the man who will oppose him in the next election. These two teams opposed each other in last year's playoffs. We're hoping we can get more senators to oppose the legislation. See More
Recent Examples on the Web But some Republicans oppose sending more aid to Ukraine — and have moved to separate the funding request from aid for Israel. Constant Méheut, New York Times, 16 Nov. 2023 Sleeper: The Commanders D/ST faces an offense allowing the most fantasy points to opposing defenses. Eddie Brown, San Diego Union-Tribune, 16 Nov. 2023 The telecommunications industry has opposed the framework, arguing that the policy would hamper investment in communities by requiring regulations that the industry says are unnecessary. Matt Brown, Fortune, 16 Nov. 2023 More than 800 film industry professionals in Germany and Austria have signed an open letter opposing antisemitism, with the number of signatories continuing to grow. Leo Barraclough, Variety, 15 Nov. 2023 The House Freedom Caucus opposed the bill for lack of spending reductions and money for the border. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 14 Nov. 2023 House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) faces a rebellion on his right-flank for advancing a plan to end the government shutdown that was originally hatched by the same conservative faction that now opposes it. Jacob Bogage, Washington Post, 14 Nov. 2023 Rural residents are opposing solar and wind farms–by some estimates, about 24% of US counties have enacted laws in this regard. Nives Dolsak and Aseem Prakash, Forbes, 13 Nov. 2023 This has prompted some creators to question why studios aren’t allying themselves with actors and writers and against AI companies to oppose what could constitute the mass pilfering of their material in violation of intellectual property laws. Winston Cho, The Hollywood Reporter, 7 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'oppose.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English opposen "to question, examine, accuse" (as past participle opposed "opposite, contrary"), borrowed from Anglo-French opposer "to counter, argue in opposition, question, interrogate," re-formation, with poser "to place, pose entry 1," of Latin oppōnere (perfect opposuī, past participle oppositus) "to place (over or against), place as an obstacle, set in opposition to, argue in reply," from ob- ob- + pōnere "to place, set" — more at position entry 1

First Known Use

1579, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of oppose was in 1579

Dictionary Entries Near oppose

Cite this Entry

“Oppose.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oppose. Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


op·​pose ə-ˈpōz How to pronounce oppose (audio)
opposed; opposing
: to be or place opposite or against something
: to offer resistance to : stand against : resist

Medical Definition


transitive verb
op·​pose ə-ˈpōz How to pronounce oppose (audio)
opposed; opposing
: to place the ball of (a first digit) against the corresponding part of a second digit of the same hand or foot
some monkeys oppose the big toe

More from Merriam-Webster on oppose

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