[uh-genst, uh-geynst]
See more synonyms for against on
  1. in opposition to; contrary to; adverse or hostile to: twenty votes against ten; against reason.
  2. in resistance to or defense from: protection against burglars.
  3. in an opposite direction to: to ride against the wind.
  4. into contact or collision with; toward; upon: The rain beat against the window.
  5. in contact with: to lean against the wall.
  6. in preparation for; in provision for: money saved against a rainy day.
  7. having as background: a design of flowers against a dark wall.
  8. in exchange for; as a balance to or debit or charge on: He asked for an advance against his salary.
  9. in competition with: a racehorse running against his own record time.
  10. in comparison or contrast with: a matter of reason as against emotion.
  11. beside; near; before: The car is against the building.
  1. Archaic. before; by the time that.
  1. 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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for against

across, adjacent, con, facing, opposing, versus, contra, vs

Examples from the Web for against

Contemporary Examples of against

Historical Examples of against

  • But at last there came a day against which no objections could be raised.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • I shall take you against your will—but I shall make you love me—in the end.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • The probabilities were all against that father's being still alive.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • He went over once more the day's arguments for and against the novel emprise.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • They were good fighters and for a long time they were able to hold their own against all invaders.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

British Dictionary definitions for against


  1. opposed to; in conflict or disagreement withthey fought against the legislation
  2. standing or leaning beside or in front ofa ladder against the wall
  3. coming in contact withthe branches of a tree brushed against the bus
  4. in contrast tosilhouettes are outlines against a light background
  5. having an adverse or unfavourable effect onthe economic system works against small independent companies
  6. as a protection from or means of defence from the adverse effects ofa safeguard against contaminated water
  7. in exchange for or in return for
  8. rare in preparation forhe gave them warm clothing against their journey through the night
  9. as against as opposed to or as compared withhe had two shots at him this time as against only one last time

Word Origin for against

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

Word Origin and History for 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

Idioms and Phrases with against


In addition to the idioms beginning with against

  • against all odds
  • against one's better judgment
  • against one's will
  • against the clock
  • against the grain
  • against the tide

also see:

  • beat one's head against the wall
  • cards are stacked against
  • come up against
  • count against
  • dead set against
  • guard against
  • have something against
  • hold something against
  • lift a hand against
  • over against
  • pit someone against
  • run against
  • set against
  • swim against
  • turn against
  • two strikes against
  • up against
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.