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noun, plural ad·ver·si·ties for 2.
  1. adverse or unfavorable fortune or fate; a condition marked by misfortune, calamity, or distress: Friends will show their true colors in times of adversity.
  2. an adverse or unfortunate event or circumstance: You will meet many adversities in life.
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Origin of adversity

1200–50; Middle English adversite (< Anglo-French) < Latin adversitās. See adverse, -ity


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Synonym study

2. See affliction.


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for adversities

Historical Examples

  • Why, her grief over the country's adversities must have cut her life short.

    Great Men and Famous Women. Vol. 2 of 8


  • It will help thee at thy need, in sickness, grief, and all adversities.

  • Ye have this day rejected your God, who himself saved you out of all adversities.


    Elmer W. Cavins

  • But their English hearts were not daunted, and bravely did they struggle with their adversities.

  • But with our own distempers and adversities it is altogether different.

    Thoughts on Man

    William Godwin

British Dictionary definitions for adversities


noun plural -ties
  1. distress; affliction; hardship
  2. an unfortunate event or incident
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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 adversities



c.1200, aduersite "misfortune, hardship, difficulty," from Old French aversité "adversity, calamity, misfortune; hostility, wickedness, malice" (Modern French adversité), from Latin adversitatem (nominative adversitas) "opposition," from adversus (see adverse).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper