Definition of opposition in English:



  • 1mass noun Resistance or dissent, expressed in action or argument.

    ‘there was considerable opposition to the proposal’
    • ‘Your argument seems to conflate opposition to the war with opposition to a ‘unilateral’ war.’
    • ‘A lot of what sounds like opposition to the war is more like opposition to losing the war.’
    • ‘There was a good turnout and on the day that I attended there seemed to be a general feeling of opposition to the planned route through Millans Park.’
    • ‘The second conclusion we can draw is that Gray's opposition to the notion of historical moral progress poses no serious challenge to existential humanism.’
    • ‘Your argument to justify your opposition to the peace talks is puerile.’
    • ‘The result comes on the same day objectors claimed there is virtually unanimous local opposition to further expansion at Stansted.’
    • ‘This is why it has become not just opposition to a point of view, but opposition to an entire rhetorical technique.’
    • ‘I understand their misgivings but I most strongly disapprove of their opposition to change.’
    • ‘This perception has caused resentment, antagonism, and opposition to the West.’
    • ‘We also must also educate ourselves about the importance of the constitution and opposition to those who threaten the rule of law.’
    • ‘Public outrage at her conviction and execution have been credited with generating the first vocal opposition to the trials.’
    • ‘For some, it appeared to breed a resistance or opposition to program authorities, which they later regretted.’
    • ‘Opposition to quotas is not the same thing as opposition to affirmative action.’
    • ‘True, such skepticism was in some quarters a mask for outright opposition to American military power in general.’
    • ‘But my criticisms were borne out of opposition to the policy and not a desire to see the Prime Minister step down.’
    • ‘To appease the vocal opposition to the privatisation threat, the government tightened the provisions against extra billing and queue jumping.’
    • ‘And in one of his most peculiar lines of argument, he also blames a lack of opposition to his plans.’
    • ‘Critics have also accused him of race-based opposition to one portion of the Voting Rights Act.’
    • ‘But there has been far more opposition in Hornsea, which has become the hotbed of opposition to a council some in the town see as out of touch and arrogant.’
    • ‘The industry's opposition to the country-of-origin labeling is just one shocking thing they've done.’
    resistance, hostility, antagonism, antipathy, enmity, objection, dissent, criticism, defiance, non-compliance, obstruction, obstructiveness, counteraction
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    1. 1.1often the opposition A group of opponents, especially in sport, business, or politics.
      ‘the home team made short work of the opposition’
      • ‘The mere fact that politics in Namibia is not issue-orientated makes it difficult for the sustainability of opposition politics.’
      • ‘It dispelled attempts to portray her as less concerned about the national interest than her opponents in the opposition parties and within her own party.’
      • ‘It was supported by the government, opposition, big businesses and trade unions.’
      • ‘In these heady days of professionalism, enjoying your sport and respecting your opposition are all too rare.’
      • ‘In November 1926, all rival political parties and opposition newspapers were banned in Italy.’
      • ‘Not all the demonstrators belong to the parties who make up the opposition or support their politics.’
      • ‘Poe, the frontrunner for a faction of the divided political opposition, cornered 31 percent of the respondents.’
      • ‘Such a development inevitably comes up against the restraints of the profit system and meets with the opposition of big business.’
      • ‘The second detractor is an absence of respect for your opponent or opposition within the discussion.’
      • ‘In any event, it is not the coach's business to let the opposition know beforehand the team's weaknesses in any area.’
      • ‘He started cracking jokes, contrasting the flippancy of opposition politics with the weight of responsibility he had to bear.’
      • ‘Some opposition politicians and businessmen are also taking on the role of the fifth columnists.’
      • ‘In politics, opposition parties were eliminated, and a personality cult was built around the figure of Mussolini, Il Duce.’
      • ‘Trust and betrayal became a central nexus in radical opposition politics and the stakes could be very high.’
      opponents, opposing side, other side, other team, competition, competitors, opposers, rivals, adversaries, antagonists, enemies
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    2. 1.2the OppositionBritish The principal parliamentary party opposed to that in office.
      ‘the leader of the Opposition’
      • ‘She alleged that the Opposition had not even explained the reason for its action.’
      • ‘The Opposition gets a certain number of questions in a day, and you keep a very strict tally on that.’
      • ‘The Opposition is not the only political force bringing its own pressure to bear.’
      • ‘The Opposition has accused the Greens of going soft and voting with the Government.’
      • ‘I do not think it goes against what the Leader of the Opposition said in any way.’
      • ‘The Opposition had sent the Bill back to the Commons four times in an unprecedentedly bitter conflict.’
      • ‘The Opposition would say that that is retribution for all the wrong he has done.’
      • ‘The Opposition should think about the comments that he used in his report.’
      • ‘The Opposition simply asks that people be allowed to keep more of what they earn.’
      • ‘The Opposition would not be doing its job if it were not raising these issues as being important.’
      • ‘The Opposition believes his handling of this case has been a disgrace and is enough for his head to go.’
      • ‘The Opposition did not have the opportunity to lodge a letter between Friday and now.’
      • ‘The Opposition will stoop to anything to show a point of difference, just for power.’
      • ‘The Opposition must then have policies which, in the eyes of the electorate, are relevant to the day.’
      • ‘That is a straightforward question that I would expect the Opposition to be able to ask.’
      • ‘The Opposition is demanding that the government stop spinning the issue and clarify its position.’
      • ‘The Opposition was aware that the Minister was interviewed this morning on the radio.’
      • ‘So already we do not have a majority in the Opposition for this particular form of legislation.’
      • ‘The Opposition has been calling for a legislative response to rural crime for a long time.’
      • ‘The Opposition wants to see all the evidence and is demanding it be tabled for public scrutiny.’
    3. 1.3Astrology Astronomy The apparent position of two celestial objects that are directly opposite each other in the sky, especially the position of a planet when opposite the sun.
      • ‘The other half of the Grand Cross is the opposition of Mars in Scorpio and Saturn in Taurus.’
      • ‘An eclipse occurs only if the Moon crosses the ecliptic when very close to either conjunction or opposition, respectively producing solar and lunar eclipses.’
      • ‘A study of your birth chart reveals an opposition between your natal moon in Sagittarius and Saturn in Gemini.’
      • ‘At opposition, a planet also comes closest to earth and shines at its brightest for the year.’
      • ‘A lack of self-approval is usually present when the Sun and Saturn are in opposition.’
  • 2A contrast or antithesis.

    ‘a nature–culture opposition’
    mass noun ‘the opposition between practical and poetic language’
    • ‘But democracy doesn't quite make it into the binary oppositions involved in this fight.’
    • ‘Set in a region of seascapes and vineyards, Penola is no stranger to interesting oppositions.’
    • ‘By including and blending the oppositions within her narration, de Pisan has created an engaging and lively epic of her hero, Joan of Arc.’
    • ‘Maori folklore focuses on oppositions between pairs, such as earth and sky, life and death, and male and female.’
    • ‘These two oppositions generate four basic strands of modern thought.’
    • ‘Cinema offers simultaneous affirmation and dissolution of the binary oppositions upon which our most fundamental notions of self and other are based.’
    • ‘As usual with such defining oppositions, there is also striking symmetry.’
    • ‘Basically one part of the theory said that we all see things differently, because of the binary oppositions to which we all give different meaning.’
    • ‘Among the ancients, she begins, the oppositions to rational truth were error, ignorance and, most of all, opinion.’
    • ‘Meadows is smart to avoid easy good guy/bad guy oppositions.’
    • ‘Our western predilection of talking in terms of binary oppositions finds an array of contrasts to play with in Wuthering Heights.’
    • ‘Likewise Tomu came to think of a film's plot in terms of a series of oppositions or conflicts.’
    • ‘Our personal lives are marked by these fractures, oppositions, and incoherences.’
    • ‘From this initial and highly problematic binary, Schultz deduces a series of categorical oppositions.’
    • ‘In any case those same theologians had tried to deal with the problem of evil by making it necessary to the existence of good, in a world that actually ran on binary oppositions.’
    • ‘Its characters are presented ambiguously and their conflicts are not structured in terms of clear-cut oppositions between good and evil.’
    • ‘Deconstruction radically unsettled what were taken to be stable concepts and conceptual oppositions.’
    • ‘These binary oppositions were natural to a medical world view that took for granted a Cartesian mind-body dualism.’
    • ‘Neither entirely human nor artificial, but a combination of the two, the cyborg problematizes all dualities and oppositions.’
    • ‘Lee's book has made me retrace the binary oppositions that have shaped prior discussions of critical pedagogy.’
    conflict, clash, difference, contrast, disparity, antithesis, polarity
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  • in opposition

    • 1In contrast or conflict.

      ‘they found themselves in opposition to state policy’
      • ‘So we actually have several different views that are completely in opposition to one another.’
      • ‘He will never start a movement in opposition to those he condemns, because that would be sticking his neck out.’
      • ‘John too stood in opposition to the notion that credentials made a difference in matters of faith.’
      • ‘Most hip hop emerging out of South Africa today positions itself in opposition to kwaito music.’
      • ‘In fact, wisdom and faith are not really in opposition to one another.’
      • ‘It's very easy to be in opposition to the government if your vote doesn't matter.’
      • ‘I have no quarrel with people who hold personal beliefs that are in opposition to mine.’
      • ‘In many parts of the country, local groups have formed committees in opposition to the plan.’
      • ‘More than 200 students rallied at the doors of the meeting in opposition to the fee increase.’
      • ‘You put yourself in opposition to a number of Republicans, as well, on immigration.’
      1. 1.1(of a major political party) not forming the government.
        ‘the objectives of the party while in opposition’
        • ‘In Federal Germany the Social Democrats remained, likewise, in opposition until 1966.’
        • ‘Labour-type parties that are in opposition in Europe are trying to gain from the revolt against neo-liberalism.’
        • ‘However, in 1895 the Liberals lost power and remained in opposition for the next 11 years.’
        • ‘That is how a political party in opposition is transformed into a governing party.’
        • ‘Having spent a political eternity in opposition, the Liberal Democrats now find themselves in power.’
        • ‘All other parties had worn themselves down in parliament, either in opposition or in government.’
        • ‘And there are those who say that because we are in opposition we should be opposing the government.’
        • ‘Despite eight miserable years in opposition the party still seems reluctant to take this lesson on board.’
        • ‘Of course, a government may claim that a problem is never exactly the same as it appeared when it was a party in opposition.’
        • ‘He has fought against it in government, in opposition and within his own party.’
        • ‘Since independence, the order has played a significant role in government, either in coalition or in opposition.’
        • ‘The Labour party had 18 years in opposition to think about its favoured structure.’
        • ‘The Labour Party changed quite radically during its long years in opposition.’
        • ‘He spent most of his parliamentary life in opposition during the Thatcher years.’
        • ‘What might be the legacies of three terms of a New Labour government and what would be the direction of the Labour Party in opposition?’
        • ‘Who takes over as leader of the Labour Party in opposition, I wonder?’
        • ‘In the 1997 election, Labour was returned to office after 18 years in opposition.’
        • ‘Hard choices were what he really imposed on his party in opposition, not a spiritual journey.’
        • ‘Nevertheless, it could be better for the future of the party to be in opposition and have some time to regroup.’
        • ‘The time for generating new ideas is while a party is in opposition.’


Late Middle English: from Latin oppositio(n-), from opponere ‘set against’.