from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- prep. In a direction or course opposite to: row against the current.
- prep. So as to come into forcible contact with: waves dashing against the shore.
- prep. In contact with so as to rest or press on: leaned against the tree.
- prep. In hostile opposition or resistance to: struggle against fate.
- prep. Contrary to; opposed to: against my better judgment.
- prep. In competition with: race against the record holder.
- prep. In contrast or comparison with the setting or background of: dark colors against a fair skin.
- prep. In preparation for; in anticipation of: food stored against winter.
- prep. As a defense or safeguard from: protection against the cold.
- prep. To the account or debt of: drew a check against my bank balance.
- prep. Directly opposite to; facing.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- prep. In a contrary direction to.
- prep. Close to.
- prep. In front of; before a background.
- prep. In physical contact with.
- prep. In physical opposition to, or in collision with.
- prep. In contrast and/or comparison with.
- prep. In competition with, versus.
- prep. In opposition to.
- prep. In exchange for.
- prep. As counterbalance to.
- prep. As a charge on.
- prep. As protection from.
- prep. Exposed to.
- prep. In anticipation of; in preparation for (a particular time, event etc.).
- conj. By the time that (something happened); before.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- prep. Abreast; opposite to; facing; towards; ; -- in this sense often preceded by over.
- prep. From an opposite direction so as to strike or come in contact with; in contact with; upon.
- prep. In opposition to, whether the opposition is of sentiment or of action; on the other side; counter to; in contrariety to; hence, adverse to
- prep. By of before the time that; in preparation for; so as to be ready for the time when.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Of motion or direction: In an opposite direction to, so as to meet; toward;
- upon: as, to strike against a rock; the rain beats against the window: to ride against the wind.
- Of position: In an opposite position; directly opposite; in front of: in this sense often preceded by over: as, a ship is against the mouth of a river.
- In contact with; bearing upon: as, to lean against a wall; in optical contact with (something behind); athwart: as, the ship loomed up dark and grim against the sky.
- Of action or purpose: In opposition to; in contrariety to; adverse or hostile to: as, twenty votes against ten; against law, reason, or public opinion.
- In resistance to or defense from: as, protection against burglars, cold, fire, etc.; to warn one against danger; the public are cautioned against pickpockets.
- In provision for; in preparation for; in anticipation of; with reference to.
- In exchange for; in return for; as a balance to: as, an exporter draws against merchandise shipped.
- For the purpose of consuming time: as, he talked against time, that is, merely to gain time, a method sometimes adopted by members of legislative and deliberative assemblies who desire to defeat some measure or motion by lapse of time, or to gain time for supporters to assemble.
- (by ellipsis). Against the time that; by the time that; before: as, be ready against I get back.
Middle English, alteration of againes, from Old English ongeagn.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Formed from Middle English agenes, againes ("in opposition to"), a southern variant of agen, or directly from again, either way with adverbial genitive singular ending -es; the parasitic -t was added circa 1350, probably by confusion with the superlative ending -est. (Wiktionary)