Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

enemy

[en-uh-mee]
See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
noun, plural en·e·mies.
  1. a person who feels hatred for, fosters harmful designs against, or engages in antagonistic activities against another; an adversary or opponent.
  2. an armed foe; an opposing military force: The army attacked the enemy at dawn.
  3. a hostile nation or state.
  4. a citizen of such a state.
  5. enemies, persons, nations, etc., that are hostile to one another: Let's make up and stop being enemies.
  6. something harmful or prejudicial: His unbridled ambition is his worst enemy.
  7. the Enemy, the Devil; Satan.
adjective
  1. belonging to a hostile power or to any of its nationals: enemy property.
  2. 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 formsnon·en·e·my, noun, plural non·en·e·mies.

Usage note

Synonyms

See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
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 ).

Antonyms

1. friend. 2. ally.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for enemy

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples


British Dictionary definitions for enemy

enemy

noun plural -mies
  1. 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
  2. something that harms or opposes; adversarycourage is the enemy of failure
Related formsRelated 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

Word Origin and History for enemy

n.

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

  • About
  • Cookies, Terms, & Privacy
© 2018 Dictionary.com, LLC.