[ an-tag-uh-niz-uhm ]
/ ænˈtæg əˌnɪz əm /
Save This Word!


an active hostility or opposition, as between unfriendly or conflicting groups: the antagonism between the liberal and the conservative parties.
an opposing force, principle, or tendency: Her plan to become an actress met with the antagonism of her family.
Physiology. an opposing action, as by one muscle in relation to another.
Biochemistry, Pharmacology. the opposing action of substances, as drugs, that when taken together decrease the effectiveness of at least one of them (contrasted with synergism).
  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.



In effect, this quiz will prove whether or not you have the skills to know the difference between “affect” and “effect.”
Question 1 of 7
The rainy weather could not ________ my elated spirits on my graduation day.

Origin of antagonism

1835–40; (<French antagonisme) <Greek antagṓnisma.See antagonize, -ism
in·ter·an·tag·o·nism, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for antagonism

/ (ænˈtæɡəˌnɪzəm) /


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

Medical definitions for antagonism

[ ăn-tăgə-nĭz′əm ]


Mutual opposition in action between structures, agents, diseases, or physiological processes.mutual resistance
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Learning At Home Just Got Easier!