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  1. expressing contrariety, opposition, or antithesis: “But” is an adversative conjunction.
  1. an adversative word or proposition.

Origin of adversative

1525–35; < Late Latin adversātīvus, equivalent to adversāt(us) (past participle of adversārī to resist; see adverse, -ate1) + -īvus -ive
Related formsad·ver·sa·tive·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for adversative

Historical Examples

  • Then let him deliberately use the adversative but, and proceed to the discussion of B.

    The Century Handbook of Writing

    Garland Greever

  • They accordingly emphasize the adversative idea, and are properly Subordinate Adversative Clauses.

    New Latin Grammar

    Charles E. Bennett

  • Without the adversative, the colon is to be preferred: "Prosperity showeth vice: adversity, virtue."

    The Verbalist

    Thomas Embly Osmun, (AKA Alfred Ayres)

  • Another example is, "Only the star dazzles; the planet has a faint, moon-like ray" (adversative).

    An English Grammar

    W. M. Baskervill and J. W. Sewell

  • But the conjunction is often omitted in copulative and adversative clauses, as in Sec.

    An English Grammar

    W. M. Baskervill and J. W. Sewell

British Dictionary definitions for adversative


  1. (of a word, phrase, or clause) implying opposition or contrast. But and although are adversative conjunctions introducing adversative clauses
  1. an adversative word or speech element
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012