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[uh-genst, uh-geynst] /əˈgɛnst, əˈgeɪnst/
in opposition to; contrary to; adverse or hostile to:
twenty votes against ten; against reason.
in resistance to or defense from:
protection against burglars.
in an opposite direction to:
to ride against the wind.
into contact or collision with; toward; upon:
The rain beat against the window.
in contact with:
to lean against the wall.
in preparation for; in provision for:
money saved against a rainy day.
having as background:
a design of flowers against a dark wall.
in exchange for; as a balance to or debit or charge on:
He asked for an advance against his salary.
in competition with:
a racehorse running against his own record time.
in comparison or contrast with:
a matter of reason as against emotion.
beside; near; before:
The car is against the building.
Archaic. before; by the time that.
over against, in contrast with:
the rich over against the poor.
Origin of against
1125-75; Middle English agens, ageynes, equivalent to ageyn again + -es -s1; for -t cf. whilst, amongst Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for over against
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He sat down in a chair on the hearth, over against Mr. Lorry.

    A Tale of Two Cities Charles Dickens
  • over against it were framed the decrees of the Council of Trent.

    A History of American Christianity

    Leonard Woolsey Bacon
  • over against the last two legends we may place two from Upper Alsace.

    The Science of Fairy Tales Edwin Sidney Hartland
  • over against it stands grammar, which may be said to be derived from reading and writing.

    Back Home Eugene Wood
  • Now living in Exeter-court, over against the Savoy, in the Strand.

    The Life of Daniel De Foe George Chalmers
  • The forts of the belligerents were over against each other, and close by.

    In the South Seas Robert Louis Stevenson
  • over against him will I set the son of Astacus, a brave man and a modest.

    Stories of the Old world Alfred John Church
  • over against this consolation was set a long list of disasters.

    The Grain Of Dust David Graham Phillips
  • over against them the Netherlanders are a people assembled at haste.

    The Human Slaughter-House Wilhelm Lamszus
British Dictionary definitions for over against


/əˈɡɛnst; əˈɡeɪnst/
opposed to; in conflict or disagreement with: they fought against the legislation
standing or leaning beside or in front of: a ladder against the wall
coming in contact with: the branches of a tree brushed against the bus
in contrast to: silhouettes are outlines against a light background
having an adverse or unfavourable effect on: the economic system works against small independent companies
as a protection from or means of defence from the adverse effects of: a safeguard against contaminated water
in exchange for or in return for
(rare) in preparation for: he gave them warm clothing against their journey through the night
as against, as opposed to or as compared with: he had two shots at him this time as against only one last time
Word Origin
C12: ageines, from again, ageyn, etc, again + -es genitive ending; the spelling with -t (C16) was probably due to confusion with superlatives ending in -st
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 over against



early 12c., agenes "in opposition to," a southern variant of agen "again" (see again), with adverbial genitive. The parasitic -t turned up mid-14c. and was standard by early 16c., perhaps from influence of superlatives.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with over against

over against

As opposed to, contrasted with, as in Over against the Smiths, the Johnsons were well off. [ c. 1500 ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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