Definition of adverse in English:



  • Preventing success or development; harmful; unfavourable.

    ‘taxes are having an adverse effect on production’
    ‘adverse weather conditions’
    • ‘The adverse publicity has caused tourists to stay away in droves from the countryside and towns.’
    • ‘Sources say that clients are leaving in droves because of the continuing adverse publicity.’
    • ‘Of course, there is also the adverse publicity that could dog them for years to come.’
    • ‘The trials had been cancelled after the drug was found to cause an adverse reaction.’
    • ‘Fortunately, most schools forced to close due to the adverse weather were due to reopen today.’
    • ‘It was bound to attract adverse publicity and bring the profession into disrepute.’
    • ‘A hike in interest rates could have an adverse effect on house prices and in terms of consumer wealth.’
    • ‘The child required urgent medical attention but did not develop long term adverse effects.’
    • ‘Roadworks on three of the routes in and out of Skipton are having an adverse effect on local businesses.’
    • ‘So when lawn edges become overgrown and tatty, it can have an adverse effect on the look of the whole garden.’
    • ‘She said the development would have major adverse impacts on the beauty of the landscape.’
    • ‘Not only did they put up a good show in adverse circumstances, they entertained the crowd greatly.’
    • ‘I hope his commitment and long hours do not have adverse effects on him or his family.’
    • ‘He believed it would have adverse effect on business and trade in the community.’
    • ‘The development will not have any adverse effect upon bats or other wildlife living in the area.’
    • ‘Perhaps they never learned how to drive in adverse conditions in the first place.’
    • ‘The most common adverse effects reported related to skin irritation and skin burning.’
    • ‘Bacteria present in organic matter can have adverse effects on human and animal health.’
    • ‘The adverse publicity generated by the hijacking was the last thing the airline needed.’
    • ‘Despite the adverse blustery weather conditions, it was clear that Oxford had the edge.’
    harmful, dangerous, injurious, detrimental, hurtful, deleterious, destructive, pernicious, disadvantageous, unfavourable, unfortunate, unhealthy
    hostile, unfavourable, antagonistic, unfriendly, ill-disposed, negative, opposing, opposed, contrary, dissenting, inimical, antipathetic, at odds
    unfavourable, disadvantageous, inauspicious, unpropitious, unfortunate, unlucky, untimely, untoward
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The two words adverse and averse are related in origin but they do not have the same meaning. Adverse means ‘unfavourable or harmful’ and is normally used of conditions and effects rather than people, as in adverse weather conditions. Averse, on the other hand, is used of people, nearly always with to, and means ‘having a strong dislike or opposition to something’, as in I am not averse to helping out. A common error is to use adverse instead of averse, as in he is not adverse to making a profit


Late Middle English: from Old French advers, from Latin adversus against, opposite, past participle of advertere, from ad- to + vertere to turn. Compare with averse.