Definition of adversarial in US English:



  • 1Involving or characterized by conflict or opposition.

    ‘industry and government had an adversarial relationship’
    • ‘They have a much more adversarial relationship with government than we do.’
    • ‘Families engaged in contentious, highly adversarial, and prolonged conflict before and during divorce often remain embattled afterward as well.’
    • ‘The thing about questions like this is that they presuppose an adversarial relationship with clients, and that's so not the case with me.’
    • ‘This is an adversarial relationship both ways, in which the media control more weapons of destruction than any minister, and use them with reckless passion or amusement, whether to make a headline or dismantle a career.’
    • ‘I think there is an adversarial relationship within the sports journalism business.’
    • ‘Williams insisted there had been no adversarial relationship between the ministry and the nurses.’
    • ‘This is not good for the health of our democracy, since it often casts civil society in an adversarial relationship to the State.’
    • ‘We have an adversarial relationship with them.’
    • ‘But what surprised me most about the meeting was a general agreement that the biggest turn-off was the adversarial nature of the campaigning.’
    • ‘With shared goals, there is less reason for conflict or adversarial relationships.’
    • ‘But it is one thing to air such differences in a framework of constructive give-and-take and another to escalate differences of opinion into an adversarial relationship.’
    • ‘Such is the nature of our adversarial democratic structures.’
    • ‘‘This issue needs to be looked at given the adversarial nature of compensation claims,’ Dr Reilly said.’
    • ‘Working for opposing stations the two men relished the jokey adversarial relationship they shared - one which continues until today.’
    • ‘The Convention drew up a list of principles to guide the Parliament, including the aim to move away from the adversarial nature of Westminster and towards a model based on power-sharing and public participation.’
    • ‘I wouldn't call it an adversarial relationship.’
    • ‘It has never had an adversarial relationship with the government.’
    • ‘The only beneficiary of the adversarial relationship imposed on religion and science two hundred years ago has been meaninglessness.’
    • ‘Creating an adversarial relationship with the listener is a mistake.’
    • ‘She has obviously had an adversarial relationship with the media for a long time.’
    1. 1.1 Opposed; hostile.
      ‘the reviewer’s presumed adversarial relationship to his subject’
      • ‘Being adversarial is not about creating enemies or escalating hostilities, but is a way to develop the dynamic conditions from which people learn to respect each other.’
      • ‘It seems to me, one ought to be looking at these central authorities as something other than the adversarial party.’
      • ‘However, calling attention to the basic differences between the two fields does not mean they are opposites, nor necessarily adversarial in relationship.’
      • ‘The inquiry we are conducting is inquisitorial, and it is not, by character or nature, adversarial.’
      • ‘That is, only a dominant group finds it advantageous to settle conflicts in an adversarial way.’
      • ‘The organization is intended to be inquisitorial, as opposed to adversarial.’
    2. 1.2Law (of a trial or legal procedure) in which the parties in a dispute have the responsibility for finding and presenting evidence.
      ‘equality between prosecution and defense is essential in an adversarial system of justice’
      Compare with inquisitorial
      • ‘In this tradition, a single judge both investigates and decides a case without benefit of an adversarial trial.’
      • ‘We have an adversarial system where evidence needs to be tested under cross-examination, so if we're going to put somebody behind bars, you need to establish charges beyond reasonable doubt.’
      • ‘In an adversarial system of justice, however, judges are expected to crib from the arguments, ideas, and research of the adversaries.’
      • ‘If the parties fail to achieve a settlement through the collaborative law approach, the parties may then pursue adversarial court proceedings.’
      • ‘In the adversarial system at the beginning of trial proceedings the court asks the defendant whether he pleads guilty or not guilty.’