[ uh-vurs ]
/ əˈvɜrs /
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See synonyms for: averse / averseness on Thesaurus.com


having a strong feeling of opposition, antipathy, repugnance, etc.; opposed (often used in combination): He is not averse to having a drink now and then.Young Americans are more debt-averse than older generations.



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Origin of averse

First recorded in 1590–1600; from Latin āversus “turned away, averted” (past participle of āvertere ), equivalent to ā-, prefix and preposition + vert- “turn” + -tus past participle suffix; see a-4

synonym study for averse

See reluctant.

words often confused with averse

See adverse.


a·verse·ly, adverba·verse·ness, noun


adverse, averse (see confusables note at adverse)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What's the difference between averse and adverse?

Averse means strongly opposed to or having a feeling of strong dislike toward something, as in I’m extremely averse to taking on debt. Adverse most commonly means unfavorable or hostile, as in adverse conditions, adverse weather, or adverse criticism.

Averse is often used in negative constructions, as in We are not averse to negotiations. It’s also used in the term risk-averse, meaning reluctant to take risks or tending to avoid risk.

Confusion can arise between the two terms because both are adjectives that involve unfavorableness or opposition. However, averse typically describes the way someone feels toward something, while adverse typically describes circumstances.

One way to remember which word is which is to remember that adverse, in a very general sense, means bad, which rhymes with the first part of the word. On the other hand, when you’re averse to something, you have a very strong opposition to it.

It may also be helpful to remember that the noun form of averse is aversion, meaning a strong feeling of dislike or opposition. The noun form of adverse is adversity, which means hostile or unfavorable conditions.

Here’s an example of adverse and averse used correctly in a sentence.

Example: I’m not averse to taking risks for the sake of adventure, but I just don’t think it’s safe to skydive in such adverse weather.

Want to learn more? Read the full breakdown of the difference between averse and adverse.

Quiz yourself on averse vs. adverse!

Should averse or adverse be used in the following sentence?

The medication had some _____ effects.

Example sentences from the Web for averse

British Dictionary definitions for averse

/ (əˈvɜːs) /


(postpositive usually foll by to) opposed, disinclined, or loath
(of leaves, flowers, etc) turned away from the main stemCompare adverse (def. 4)

Derived forms of averse

aversely, adverbaverseness, noun

Word Origin for averse

C16: from Latin āversus, from āvertere to turn from, from vertere to turn
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
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