[vur-suh s, -suh z]
See more synonyms for versus on
  1. against (used especially to indicate an action brought by one party against another in a court of law, or to denote competing teams or players in a sports contest): Smith versus Jones; Army versus Navy.
  2. as compared to or as one of two choices; in contrast with: traveling by plane versus traveling by train. Abbreviation: v., vs.

Origin of versus

1400–50; late Middle English < Latin: towards, i.e., turned so as to face (something), opposite, over against, orig. past participle of vertere to turn; see verse
Can be confusedverses versus Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for versus

alternative, contrast, vs

Examples from the Web for versus

Contemporary Examples of versus

Historical Examples of versus

  • Inconsistent usage of American versus British spelling has also been retained.

  • Let me now state the case: Shell versus Diehl and Hottenstein.

  • Considered as regions, Florida versus New Mexico, the latter should be the older.

    The Sunset Trail

    Alfred Henry Lewis

  • And ther sayde oones a clerk in two versus, What is better than gold?

    The English Novel

    Sidney Lanier

  • I assure you we've got beyond the Realism versus Romance stage of disputation.

    Cape of Storms

    Percival Pollard

British Dictionary definitions for versus


  1. (esp in a competition or lawsuit) against; in opposition toAbbreviation: v, (esp US) vs
  2. as opposed to; in contrast with

Word Origin for versus

C15: from Latin: turned (in the direction of), opposite, 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

Word Origin and History for versus

mid-15c., in legal case names, denoting action of one party against another, from Latin versus "turned toward or against," from past participle of vertere (frequentative versare) "to turn," from PIE *wert- "to turn, wind," from root *wer- (3) "to turn, bend" (cf. Old English -weard "toward," originally "turned toward," weorthan "to befall," wyrd "fate, destiny," literally "what befalls one;" Sanskrit vartate "turns round, rolls;" Avestan varet- "to turn;" Old Church Slavonic vruteti "to turn, roll," Russian vreteno "spindle, distaff;" Lithuanian verciu "to turn;" Greek rhatane "stirrer, ladle;" German werden, Old English weorðan "to become" (for sense, cf. turn into); Welsh gwerthyd "spindle, distaff;" Old Irish frith "against").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper