See also: adversé


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First attested around 1374, from Old French avers (French adverse), from Latin adversus (turned against), past participle of advertere, from ad- (to) + vertere (to turn). See also versus.


  • IPA(key): /ˈæd.və(ɹ)s/, /ədˈvɜ(ɹ)s/
  • (file)


adverse (comparative adverser, superlative adversest)

  1. Unfavorable; antagonistic in purpose or effect; hostile; actively opposing one's interests or wishes; contrary to one's welfare; acting against; working in an opposing direction.
    adverse criticism
    • 1829, Robert Southey, Sir Thomas More; or, Colloquies on the Progress and Prospects of Society
      Happy were it for us all if we bore prosperity as well and wisely as we endure an adverse fortune.
    • 1960 February, R. C. Riley, “The London-Birmingham services - Past, Present and Future”, in Trains Illustrated, page 98:
      Northbound expresses have the hardest work to perform, with adverse grades predominating from Willesden to Tring.
    • 1964 September, “News: Fewer diesels for NER in 1965”, in Modern Railways, page 201:
      Several types of diesel locomotive have been tested on this working and as a result the probable choice will be Type 2 diesels in pairs, without bankers. The crucial factor in the selection of this method is the higher degree of adhesion obtained than with a single Type 4; on trial one of the latter showed that in very adverse conditions it might slip to a standstill at one of the two tricky spots on the steep climb from Tyne Dock to Consett.
    • 2011 December 14, Steven Morris, “Devon woman jailed for 168 days for killing kitten in microwave”, in Guardian[1]:
      He said Robins had not been in trouble with the law before and had no previous convictions. Jail would have an adverse effect on her and her three children as she was the main carer.
  2. Opposed; contrary; opposing one's interests or desire.
    adverse circumstances
  3. (not comparable) Opposite; confronting.
    the adverse page
    the adverse party

Usage notesEdit

Adverse is sometimes confused with averse, though the meanings are somewhat different. Adverse most often refers to things, denoting something that is in opposition to someone's interests — something one might refer to as an adversity or adversary — (adverse winds; an attitude adverse to our ideals). Averse usually refers to people, and implies one has a distaste, disinclination, or aversion toward something (a leader averse to war; an investor averse to risk taking). Averse is most often used with "to" in a construction like "I am averse to…". Adverse shows up less often in this type of construction, describing a person instead of a thing, and should carry a meaning of "actively opposed to" rather than "has an aversion to".

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See alsoEdit




From Latin adversus (against, opposite).


adverse (plural adverses)

  1. adverse

Further readingEdit





  1. vocative masculine singular of adversus


  • adverse in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • adverse in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré Latin-Français, Hachette




  1. First-person singular (yo) present subjunctive form of adversar.
  2. Formal second-person singular (usted) present subjunctive form of adversar.
  3. Third-person singular (él, ella, also used with usted?) present subjunctive form of adversar.
  4. Formal second-person singular (usted) imperative form of adversar.