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[en-uh-mee] /ˈɛn ə mi/
noun, plural enemies.
a person who feels hatred for, fosters harmful designs against, or engages in antagonistic activities against another; an adversary or opponent.
an armed foe; an opposing military force:
The army attacked the enemy at dawn.
a hostile nation or state.
a citizen of such a state.
enemies, persons, nations, etc., that are hostile to one another:
Let's make up and stop being enemies.
something harmful or prejudicial:
His unbridled ambition is his worst enemy.
the Enemy, the Devil; Satan.
belonging to a hostile power or to any of its nationals:
enemy property.
Obsolete. inimical; ill-disposed.
Origin of enemy
1250-1300; Middle English enemi < Anglo-French, Old French < Latin inimicus unfriendly, equivalent to in- in-3 + amicus friendly, friend; see amicable
Related forms
nonenemy, noun, plural nonenemies.
1. antagonist. Enemy, foe refer to a dangerous public or personal adversary. Enemy emphasizes the idea of hostility: to overcome the enemy; a bitter enemy. Foe, a more literary word, may be used interchangeably with enemy, but emphasizes somewhat more the danger to be feared from such a one: deadly foe; arch foe of humankind (the Devil ).
1. friend. 2. ally.
Usage note Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for enemy
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The enemy barrage at the point of the wall nearest it, suddenly lifted.

    Tarrano the Conqueror Raymond King Cummings
  • There was nothing on board the Maria that could cope with the enemy's guns.

    A Prisoner of Morro Upton Sinclair
  • Well, I have reasons for believing that he is not so great an enemy as he appears to be.

    The Prairie Flower Gustave Aimard
  • And so the furious Ignacio was compelled to leave his enemy alone.

    A Prisoner of Morro Upton Sinclair
  • There was at least one enemy outpost stationed there—and possibly more.

    Hi Jolly! James Arthur Kjelgaard
British Dictionary definitions for enemy


noun (pl) -mies
a person hostile or opposed to a policy, cause, person, or group, esp one who actively tries to do damage; opponent
  1. an armed adversary; opposing military force
  2. (as modifier): enemy aircraft
  1. a hostile nation or people
  2. (as modifier): an enemy alien
something that harms or opposes; adversary: courage is the enemy of failure
adjective inimical
Word Origin
C13: from Old French enemi, from Latin inimīcus hostile, from in-1 + amīcus friend
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 enemy

early 13c., from Old French enemi (12c.), earlier inimi (9c.) "enemy, adversary, foe, demon, the Devil," from Latin inimicus "hostile, unfriendly; an enemy" (source of Italian nemico, Catalan enamic, Spanish enemigo, Portuguese inimigo), from in- "not" (see in- (1)) + amicus "friend" related to amare "to love" (see Amy).

Most words for "personal enemy" cover also "enemy in war," but certain languages have special terms for the latter, e.g. Greek polemioi (distinct from ekhthroi), Latin hostis, originally "stranger" (distinct from inimicus), Russian neprijatel' (distinct from vrag).

Russian vrag (Old Church Slavonic vragu) is cognate with Lithuanian vargas "misery" (see urge), and probably is related to Proto-Germanic *wargoz, source of Old Norse vargr "outlaw," hence "wolf;" Icelandic vargur "fox," Old English wearg "criminal, felon;" which likely were the inspirations for J.R.R. Tolkien's warg "a kind of large ferocious wolf" in "The Hobbit" (1937) and "Lord of the Rings." Related: Enemies.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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