1. confront, contravene. Oppose, resist, withstand imply setting up a force against something. The difference between oppose and resist is somewhat that between offensive and defensive action. To oppose is mainly to fight against, in order to thwart, certain tendencies or procedures of which one does not approve: The lobbyists opposed the passage of the bill. Resist suggests that the subject is already threatened by the forces, or by the imminent possibility, against which he or she struggles: to resist temptation. Again, whereas oppose always suggests an attitude of great disapproval, resist may imply an inner struggle in which the will is divided: She tried unsuccessfully to resist the temptation to eat dessert. Withstand generally implies successful resistance; it may refer to endurance that allows one to emerge unharmed (to withstand a shock ), as well as to active resistance: to withstand an attack. 2. prevent. 4. contradict.