Definitions

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

  • n. One who feels hatred toward, intends injury to, or opposes the interests of another; a foe.
  • n. A hostile power or force, such as a nation.
  • n. A member or unit of such a force.
  • n. A group of foes or hostile forces. See Usage Note at collective noun.
  • n. Something destructive or injurious in its effects: "Art hath an enemy called Ignorance” ( Ben Jonson).
  • adj. Of, relating to, or being a hostile power or force.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Someone who is hostile to, feels hatred towards, opposes the interests of, or intends injury to someone else.
  • n. A hostile force or nation; a fighting member of such a force or nation.
  • n. An alliance of such forces.
  • adj. of, relating to, or belonging to an enemy

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One hostile to another; one who hates, and desires or attempts the injury of, another; a foe; an adversary
  • adj. Hostile; inimical.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One who opposes, antagonizes, or seeks to inflict, or is willing to inflict, injury upon another, from dislike, hatred, conflict of interests, or public policy, as in war; one who is hostile or inimical.
  • n. Specifically An opposing military force. See the enemy, below.
  • n. A foreign state which is in a condition of open hostility to the state in relation to which the former is regarded, or a subject of such a state.
  • n. That which is inimical; anything that is hurtful or dangerous: as, strong drink is one of man's worst enemies; a bad conscience is an enemy to peace.
  • n. The adversary of mankind; the devil; Satan.
  • n. Time: as, how goes the enemy? (= what o'clock is it?); to kill the enemy.
  • n. Synonyms Antagonist, Opponent, etc. See adversary.
  • Inimical; hostile; opposed.
  • In internȧtional law, belonging to a public enemy; belonging to a hostile power or to any of its subjects: as, enemy property.
  • To be hostile.
  • n. A dialectal corruption of anemone.
  • n. A dialectal (Scotch) corruption of emmet.

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

  • n. an opposing military force
  • n. a personal enemy
  • n. an armed adversary (especially a member of an opposing military force)
  • n. any hostile group of people

Etymologies

Middle English enemi, from Old French, from Latin inimīcus : in-, not; see in-1 + amīcus, friend.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French enemi, anemi (Modern French: ennemi), from Latin inimīcus, from in- ("not") + amīcus ("friend") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Nevertheless I continued my course towards the enemy, that to the number of twenty ships had been seen since eight o'clock at S.S.W. My opinion as to the state of the ships of the squadron remaining still indecisive, in the afternoon I desired to know _if it was advisable to attack the enemy_; the ships Concepcion, Mexicano, San Pablo,

    Memoirs and Correspondence of Admiral Lord de Saumarez. Vol II

  • He is, indeed, called an enemy to pilgrims, and the laft enemy*.

    Christian memoirs, or, a review of the present state of religion in England : in the form of a new pilgrimage to the heavenly Jerusalem ..

  • Timeline: Walter Cronkite’s Life and Career The trouble began when the moderator asked Jennings what he would do if, during a war ­between the U.S. and another country, he’d been given the chance to travel with the enemy and report from behind his lines — only to discover, from this vantage point, that the ­enemy was about to spring a trap and mow the Americans down.

    Ghosts of Broadcast Journalism Past

  • The Obama administration has since abandoned using the term "enemy combatant."

    CNN.com

  • McCain's confusion about who our main enemy is seems to be part of a troubling pattern, and I have predicted that this will have serious political ramifications in the coming months.

    Your Right Hand Thief

  • The use of the term enemy is significant to me, as is the word speaking.

    Speaking with the Enemy

  • The term enemy combatant has been used for decades to define members of a military who engage in activities such as sabotage and espionage that occur outside normal combat.

    'Enemy Combatant' Label Is Dropped for Detainees

  • LOU DOBBS, HOST: Tonight the Obama administration abandons the term enemy combatants for terror suspects held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

    CNN Transcript Mar 13, 2009

  • Our main enemy is not primarily the Mahdi army or any of the factions in Iraq but Ahmadinejad and the mullahocracy in Iran.

    Sound Politics: "Double Down"?

  • It is always an entertainment to an inquisitive reader, to trace a sentiment to its original source, and, therefore, though the term enemy of man, applied to the devil, is in itself natural and obvious, yet some may be pleased with being informed, that Shakespeare probably borrowed it from the first lines of the Destruction of Troy, a book which he is known to have read.

    The Works of Samuel Johnson, Volume 05 Miscellaneous Pieces

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    October 28, 2009