Definition of apposition in English:



mass noun
  • 1technical The positioning of things side by side or close together.

    • ‘Hence the plug is a specialized cytoplasmic structure, unlike desmosomes, gap junctions, or septate junctions, which are formed from membrane appositions.’
    • ‘These connections consisted of close appositions between nonspecialized areas of the plasma membranes of the 2 cells.’
    • ‘This is compatible with the idea that pyrenes are forced to lie close together in the complex; the pyrene ring is a quite rigid and thus close apposition of two pyrenes is expected to limit ring deformations.’
    • ‘Thus, the expression of these two genes occurs independently in mesoderm and ectoderm without the close apposition of these two tissues that normally occurs in embryos in vivo.’
    • ‘The first seven bead appositions led to spikes in the fiber position that represent adhesive events of varying duration.’
  • 2Grammar
    A relationship between two or more words or phrases in which the two units are grammatically parallel and have the same referent (e.g. my friend Sue; the first US president, George Washington).

    • ‘Long sentences with subclauses loosely strung together and lots of words in apposition likewise suggest that meaning can be continually modified rather than structured into discrete differential units.’
    • ‘You find, if you change a direction, you get an opposition and an apposition, which creates an irony, which creates a metaphor.’
    • ‘When for instance in a span of three pages we read ‘The darkness, a magician,’ ‘memory, an old flautist,’ and ‘Love, a one-legged bird’ his odd metaphorical appositions come to seem more mannered than inspired.’
    • ‘By means of the universal ‘I,’ he brings the concepts of performance and political involvement into apposition with the categories of immigrant, exile, and criminal.’


Late Middle English: from late Latin appositio(n-), from apponere ‘to apply’ (see apposite).