Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An opponent; an enemy.
  • n. The Devil; Satan. Often used with the.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An opponent or rival.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Opposed; opposite; adverse; antagonistic.
  • adj. Having an opposing party; not unopposed.
  • n. One who is turned against another or others with a design to oppose or resist them; a member of an opposing or hostile party; an opponent; an antagonist; an enemy; a foe.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Opposed; opposite to; adverse: antagonistic: as, “adversary forces,” Bp. King.
  • In law, having an opposing party, in contradistinction to unopposed: as, an adversary suit.
  • n. One who acts adversely or inimically; an unfriendly opponent or antagonist; an enemy.
  • n. Specifically [capitalized] The devil; Satan as the general enemy of mankind: as, the wiles of the Adversary.
  • n. An opponent in a contest; one who contends against another or strives for victory; a contestant.
  • n. Synonyms and Adversary, Antagonist, Opponent, Enemy, Foe. These words vary in strength according as they express spirit, action, or relation. A foe has most of the spirit of enmity, or is actively hostile. The word is more used in poetry than in prose. Enemy, as denoting an opponent in war, or a member of an opposing party, does not necessarily imply personal hostility. Opponent, adversary, and antagonist are less severe in their opposition, and need have no animosity. Opponent is often a passive word; antagonist is always active and personal. A man may be our opponent in an argument or a lawsuit, our adversary in a game, as chess, our antagonist in a wrestling- or boxing-match, or other occasion of strenuous exertion: the choice between the three words depends chiefly upon the measure of activity involved. In the Bible, adversary covers the meaning of all five words.
  • To antagonize; oppose.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. someone who offers opposition

Etymologies

Middle English adversarie, from Latin adversārius, enemy, from adversus, against; see adverse.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Anglo-Norman aversaire (in Wace's Life of Saint Margaret), from Old French aversier, aversaire (French adversaire), from Latin adversārius, from adversus ("turned toward"). (Wiktionary)

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