View synonyms for antagonism


[ an-tag-uh-niz-uhm ]


  1. an active hostility or opposition, as between unfriendly or conflicting groups:

    the antagonism between the liberal and the conservative parties.

    Synonyms: strife, friction, conflict

  2. an opposing force, principle, or tendency:

    Her plan to become an actress met with the antagonism of her family.

    Synonyms: animosity

  3. Physiology. an opposing action, as by one muscle in relation to another.
  4. Biochemistry, Pharmacology. the opposing action of substances, as drugs, that when taken together decrease the effectiveness of at least one of them ( synergism ).
  5. Ecology.
    1. a relationship between two species of organisms in which the individuals of each species adversely affect the other, as in competition.
    2. the inhibition of the growth of one type of organism by a different type that is competing for the same ecological niche.


/ ænˈtæɡəˌnɪzəm /


  1. openly expressed and usually mutual opposition
  2. the inhibiting or nullifying action of one substance or organism on another
  3. physiol the normal opposition between certain muscles
  4. biology the inhibition or interference of growth of one kind of organism by another

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Other Words From

  • inter·an·tago·nism noun

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Word History and Origins

Origin of antagonism1

First recorded in 1835–40; from French antagonisme, from Greek antagṓnisma; antagonize, -ism

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Example Sentences

Back in his lab, Shandas studies what pushes people to their tipping point — what makes them go to a cooling center or, like him, give up on lifelong antagonism to AC and buy a unit.

The antagonism between authoritarian governments and social media also reflects generational differences in news consumption, experts say.

Facebook and its tech peers are facing a groundswell of bipartisan antagonism over their control of digital commerce and their ability to influence what users watch and read.

From Fortune

At the time, Gallup suggested there were two causes of such public antagonism to pharmaceutical companies—their role in the opioid crisis, and high drug prices.

From Quartz

Kaufman said, “There’s a common thread that runs through all of the Dark Triad traits, and that’s exploitation and the desire for antagonism, viewing the world in a zero-sum way.”

Just like Watson, Ansari is daring to elicit antagonism and ignorant accusations on account of his feminist beliefs.

Work that alienates one reader to the point of antagonism can feel like a perfect fit to another.

And the antagonism sure to be generated by such racial disparities was magnified by the sheer number of cases.

Another sharp critic, Texan Ted Cruz, said Hagel harbored "a greater antagonism toward Israel than any other member of this body."

On more than one occasion, literal fights broke out behind closed doors, and the antagonism often fell along racial lines.

In the close relation and affection of these last days, the sense of alienation and antagonism faded from both their hearts.

These two phenomenal facts imply some strong antagonism to the priesthood and their system.

He recalled the old bitterness and the old antagonism, and for a moment he almost lost his temper.

True a wonderful outcry has been raised about the antagonism between the records of the rocks, and the records of the Bible.

At this period, though he would not have admitted it, he felt a growing antagonism, and the cause was Inga.