noun, plural ad·ver·si·ties for 2.

adverse or unfavorable fortune or fate; a condition marked by misfortune, calamity, or distress: Friends will show their true colors in times of adversity.
an adverse or unfortunate event or circumstance: You will meet many adversities in life.

Origin of adversity

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

Synonyms for adversity

Synonym study

2. See affliction.

Antonyms for adversity Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for adversity

Contemporary Examples of adversity

Historical Examples of adversity

  • Yet, measured according to the stern standards of adversity, Mary was fortunate.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • It will blunt the keen edge of sorrow, and smooth the asperities of adversity.

  • That part of your friend which it is your privilege to contemplate in your adversity.

  • To fight it out, shoulder to shoulder with my brethren in adversity.

    The Black Bag

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • But the great Wampanoag chief was not a man to yield to adversity.

    King Philip

    John S. C. (John Stevens Cabot) Abbott

British Dictionary definitions for adversity


noun plural -ties

distress; affliction; hardship
an unfortunate event or incident
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 adversity

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).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper