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[ad-vurs, ad-vurs] /ædˈvɜrs, ˈæd vɜrs/
unfavorable or antagonistic in purpose or effect:
adverse criticism.
opposing one's interests or desire:
adverse circumstances.
being or acting in a contrary direction; opposed or opposing:
adverse winds.
opposite; confronting:
the adverse page.
Origin of adverse
1350-1400; Middle English < Anglo-French, Old French advers < Latin adversus hostile (past participle of advertere), equivalent to ad- ad- + vert- turn + -tus past participle suffix, with -tt- > -s-
Related forms
adversely, adverb
adverseness, noun
unadverse, adjective
unadversely, adverb
unadverseness, noun
Can be confused
adverse, averse (see usage note at the current entry)
1. hostile, inimical, unfriendly. 2. unfavorable; unlucky, unfortunate; disastrous, calamitous, catastrophic.
1–3. favorable.
Synonym Study
2. See contrary.
Usage note
The adjectives adverse and averse are related both etymologically and semantically, each having “opposition” as a central sense. Adverse is seldom used of people but rather of effects or events, and it usually conveys a sense of hostility or harmfulness: adverse reviews; adverse winds; adverse trends in the economy. Related nouns are adversity and adversary: Adversities breed bitterness. His adversaries countered his every move. Averse is used of persons and means “feeling opposed or disinclined”; it often occurs idiomatically with a preceding negative to convey the opposite meaning “willing or agreeable,” and is not interchangeable with adverse in these contexts: We are not averse to holding another meeting. The related noun is aversion: She has a strong aversion to violence. Averse is usually followed by to, in older use occasionally by from. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for adverse
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The experience of civilized nations has hitherto been adverse to Socialism.

    The Republic Plato
  • Nor was it a small inducement to him to think that the side he adopted was adverse to Kate.

    Luttrell Of Arran Charles James Lever
  • The adverse weather held us in front and the disease pressed on our rear.

    The Shadow-Line Joseph Conrad
  • "Some adverse influence is at work," said Funkelstein, with some vexation.

    David Elginbrod George MacDonald
  • It is not wonderful that property began in adverse possession.

    Ancient Law Sir Henry James Sumner Maine
British Dictionary definitions for adverse


/ˈædvɜːs; ædˈvɜːs/
antagonistic or inimical; hostile: adverse criticism
unfavourable to one's interests: adverse circumstances
contrary or opposite in direction or position: adverse winds
(of leaves, flowers, etc) facing the main stem Compare averse (sense 2)
Derived Forms
adversely, adverb
adverseness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Latin adversus opposed to, hostile, from advertere to turn towards, from ad- to, towards + vertere to turn
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
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Word Origin and History for adverse

late 14c., "contrary, opposing," from Old French avers (13c., Modern French adverse) "antagonistic, unfriendly, contrary, foreign" (e.g. gent avers "infidel race"), from Latin adversus "turned against, turned toward, fronting, facing," figuratively "hostile, adverse, unfavorable," past participle of advertere, from ad- "to" (see ad-) + vertere "to turn" (see versus). Related: Adversely.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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