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 abstraction L. 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

Example Sentences

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 With Republicans, who largely oppose climate aid, set to take over the House in January, the prospects of Congress approving an entirely new pot of money for loss and damage appear dim. Arkansas Online, 20 Nov. 2022 The request is expected to meet pushback from GOP members who oppose further funding for COVID-19 response and question how some previous funds were used, according to the Post. Aidin Vaziri, San Francisco Chronicle, 15 Nov. 2022 The Revolutionary Court was established following the 1979 Islamic Revolutions and is known for meting out harsh punishments to those who oppose Iran's clerical rulers. Bradford Betz, Fox News, 14 Nov. 2022 Vintners from San Diego and Southern California have donated thousands of dollars to Rural Water Assurance, a group made up of Cochise residents, farmers and vintners who oppose state regulations on groundwater. Jake Frederico, The Arizona Republic, 7 Nov. 2022 And those who oppose the terms could appeal to the United States Supreme Court if judges on the appeals court approve the plan. al, 7 Nov. 2022 With Republicans, who largely oppose climate aid, poised to make gains in Tuesday’s midterm elections, the prospects of new funds appear dim. Lisa Friedman, BostonGlobe.com, 6 Nov. 2022 Nessel has visited Dearborn several times in recent weeks, drawing derogatory attacks from some of the protesters in Dearborn who oppose LGBTQ books. Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press, 5 Nov. 2022 In a statement sent to Pioneer Press, Toy said the committee would support candidates who oppose President Carolyn Drblik, Treasurer Joe Makula and Secretary Suzanne Schoenfeldt. Caroline Kubzansky, Chicago Tribune, 4 Nov. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'oppose.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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. 2022.

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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.