[ en-uh-mee ]
See synonyms for enemy on Thesaurus.com
noun,plural en·e·mies.
  1. a person who feels hatred for, fosters harmful designs against, or engages in antagonistic activities against another; an adversary or opponent.

  2. an armed foe; an opposing military force: The army attacked the enemy at dawn.

  1. a hostile nation or state.

  2. a citizen of such a state.

  3. enemies, persons, nations, etc., that are hostile to one another: Let's make up and stop being enemies.

  4. something harmful or prejudicial: His unbridled ambition is his worst enemy.

  5. the Enemy, the Devil; Satan.

  1. belonging to a hostile power or to any of its nationals: enemy property.

  2. Obsolete. inimical; ill-disposed.

Origin of enemy

First recorded in 1300–1350; Middle English enemi, from Anglo-French, Old French, from Latin inimicus “unfriendly,” equivalent to in- in-3 + amicus “friendly, friend”; see amicable

synonym study For enemy

1. Enemy, foe refer to a dangerous public or personal adversary. Enemy emphasizes the idea of hostility: to overcome the enemy; a bitter enemy. Foe, a more literary word, may be used interchangeably with enemy, but emphasizes somewhat more the danger to be feared from such a one: deadly foe; arch foe of humankind ( the Devil ).

Grammar notes for enemy

Other words for enemy

Opposites for enemy

Other words from enemy

  • non·en·e·my, noun, plural non·en·e·mies.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use enemy in a sentence

  • Only in the carnage of the head, the tilt of the chin, was the insolence expressed that had made her many enemies.

    Ancestors | Gertrude Atherton
  • His enemies persistently insinuated that he was really returning to Spain to support the clericals actively.

    The Philippine Islands | John Foreman
  • Like every other Spanish general in supreme command abroad, Polavieja had his enemies in Spain.

    The Philippine Islands | John Foreman
  • The young man from far away had not, so far as he knew, either enemies or friends at Monte Carlo.

  • The dog stood with hanging head and tail, as if ashamed he had let so many of his enemies get away unharmed.

British Dictionary definitions for enemy


/ (ˈɛnəmɪ) /

nounplural -mies
  1. a person hostile or opposed to a policy, cause, person, or group, esp one who actively tries to do damage; opponent

    • an armed adversary; opposing military force

    • (as modifier): enemy aircraft

    • a hostile nation or people

    • (as modifier): an enemy alien

  1. something that harms or opposes; adversary: courage is the enemy of failure

Origin of enemy

C13: from Old French enemi, from Latin inimīcus hostile, from in- 1 + amīcus friend

Other words from enemy

  • Related adjective: inimical

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