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[vur-suh s, -suh z] /ˈvɜr səs, -səz/
against (used especially to indicate an action brought by one party against another in a court of law, or to denote competing teams or players in a sports contest):
Smith versus Jones; Army versus Navy.
as compared to or as one of two choices; in contrast with:
traveling by plane versus traveling by train.
Abbreviation: v., vs.
Origin of versus
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Latin: towards, i.e., turned so as to face (something), opposite, over against, orig. past participle of vertere to turn; see verse
Can be confused
verses, versus. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for versus
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Preaching or printing matter concerning the controversy of free will versus predestination was forbidden.

  • Considered as regions, Florida versus New Mexico, the latter should be the older.

    The Sunset Trail Alfred Henry Lewis
  • The man who won the case for the Chapter against the town can certainly win that of Watteville versus Riceys!

    Albert Savarus Honore de Balzac
  • And ther sayde oones a clerk in two versus, What is better than gold?

    The English Novel Sidney Lanier
  • Do not act and say, like Macleay versus Fleming, "I write with aqua fortis to bite into brass."

British Dictionary definitions for versus


(esp in a competition or lawsuit) against; in opposition to v, (esp US) vs
as opposed to; in contrast with
Word Origin
C15: from Latin: turned (in the direction of), opposite, from 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 versus

mid-15c., in legal case names, denoting action of one party against another, from Latin versus "turned toward or against," from past participle of vertere (frequentative versare) "to turn," from PIE *wert- "to turn, wind," from root *wer- (3) "to turn, bend" (cf. Old English -weard "toward," originally "turned toward," weorthan "to befall," wyrd "fate, destiny," literally "what befalls one;" Sanskrit vartate "turns round, rolls;" Avestan varet- "to turn;" Old Church Slavonic vruteti "to turn, roll," Russian vreteno "spindle, distaff;" Lithuanian verciu "to turn;" Greek rhatane "stirrer, ladle;" German werden, Old English weorðan "to become" (for sense, cf. turn into); Welsh gwerthyd "spindle, distaff;" Old Irish frith "against").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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