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adverse definition


This page has 8 definitions of adverse with English translations in 4 languages. Adverse is an adjective, participle and verb. Examples of how to use adverse in a sentence are shown. Also define these 0 related words and terms: .

See also: adversé

English adverse definition


First attested around 1374, from Old French avers (French adverse), from Latin adversus (turned against), past participle of advertere, from ad- (to) + vertere (to turn). See also versus.


  • IPA(key): /ˈæd.və(ɹ)s/, /ədˈvɜ(ɹ)s/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɜ(ɹ)s


adverse (comparative more adverse or (rare or nonstandard) adverser, superlative most adverse or (rare or nonstandard) adversest)

  1. Unfavorable; antagonistic in purpose or effect; hostile; actively opposing one's interests or wishes; contrary to one's welfare; acting against; working in an opposing direction.
    adverse criticism
    adverse weather
    • 1829, Robert Southey, “(please specify the page)”, in Sir Thomas More: or, Colloquies on the Progress and Prospects of Society. [], volumes (please specify |volume=I or II), London: John Murray, [], →OCLC:
      Happy were it for us all if we bore prosperity as well and wisely as we endure an adverse fortune.
    • 1960 February, R. C. Riley, “The London-Birmingham services - Past, Present and Future”, in Trains Illustrated, page 98:
      Northbound expresses have the hardest work to perform, with adverse grades predominating from Willesden to Tring.
    • 1964 September, “News: Fewer diesels for NER in 1965”, in Modern Railways, page 201:
      Several types of diesel locomotive have been tested on this working and as a result the probable choice will be Type 2 diesels in pairs, without bankers. The crucial factor in the selection of this method is the higher degree of adhesion obtained than with a single Type 4; on trial one of the latter showed that in very adverse conditions it might slip to a standstill at one of the two tricky spots on the steep climb from Tyne Dock to Consett.
    • 2011 December 14, Steven Morris, “Devon woman jailed for 168 days for killing kitten in microwave”, in Guardian[1]:
      He said Robins had not been in trouble with the law before and had no previous convictions. Jail would have an adverse effect on her and her three children as she was the main carer.
  2. Opposed; contrary; opposing one's interests or desire.
    adverse circumstances
  3. (not comparable) Opposite; confronting.
    the adverse page
    the adverse party
    • 1809, Lord Byron, English Bards and Scotch Reviewers[2]:
      Calpe's adverse height / [] must greet my sight
    • 1835, James Hogg, The Story of Euphemia Hewit:
      Now the families of the two lovers were not on very good terms; they were, I believe, rather adverse to one another.

Usage notes

Adverse is sometimes confused with averse, though the meanings are somewhat different. Adverse most often refers to things, denoting something that is in opposition to someone's interests — something one might refer to as an adversity or adversary — (adverse winds; an attitude adverse to our ideals). Averse usually refers to people, and implies one has a distaste, disinclination, or aversion toward something (a leader averse to war; an investor averse to risk taking). Averse is most often used with "to" in a construction like "I am averse to…". Adverse shows up less often in this type of construction, describing a person instead of a thing, and should carry a meaning of "actively opposed to" rather than "has an aversion to".


Derived terms

Related terms


See also


French adverse definition


From Latin adversus (against, opposite).



adverse (plural adverses)

  1. adverse

Further reading


Latin adverse definition



  1. vocative masculine singular of adversus


  • adverse”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • adverse in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette

Spanish adverse definition



  1. inflection of adversar:
    1. first/third-person singular present subjunctive
    2. third-person singular imperative