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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

Synonyms for adversity

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2. See affliction.

Antonyms for adversity

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

Related Words for adversity

disaster, crunch, misfortune, hardship, sorrow, suffering, mishap, difficulty, calamity, misery, trouble, catastrophe, reverse, clutch, contretemps, poison, trial, drag, jam, bummer

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
  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 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).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper