Definition of adversary in English:



  • 1One's opponent in a contest, conflict, or dispute.

    ‘Davis beat his old adversary in the quarterfinals’
    • ‘Military operations almost always involve an intense contest for time between adversaries.’
    • ‘That made her much more formidable an adversary because she didn't have the usual narcissistic vanity.’
    • ‘The two old adversaries stared at each other across the room.’
    • ‘Its results depend on the opinion the opponent has of his adversary's capability to win.’
    • ‘Nat, I know, was humbled when he was told the lengths to which his old adversary had gone to honour his name.’
    • ‘They want nothing to do with their old adversaries, or be associated with them in anyway.’
    • ‘I will face them and show them I am a formidable adversary.’
    • ‘For some, these may prove to be altogether more formidable adversaries.’
    • ‘I'm playing an old adversary on Monday, and we're both making excuses already.’
    • ‘Located behind the knee, these tendons are not well exposed to an adversary facing his opponent from the front.’
    • ‘The trade unions in particular looked with deep suspicion at an administration still headed by their old adversary.’
    • ‘Once there, he expects to be coming up against an old adversary.’
    • ‘I believe he would prove to be a formidable adversary.’
    • ‘Now, once more, we faced off like the old adversaries that we were.’
    • ‘Fans were delighted to hear their old adversary, Argentina, had crashed out of the tournament by failing to beat Sweden.’
    • ‘You must have thought you had seen the last of your old adversary!’
    • ‘Ross is a friend as well as an old adversary, and I feel for him.’
    • ‘He was a vigorous adversary to opponents, but he was also a very fair and honest man.’
    • ‘The game with their old adversaries from Germany could prove decisive.’
    • ‘Liam bumped into his old adversary in London's Camden Town recently and berated him for old time's sake.’
    opponent, rival, enemy, foe, nemesis, antagonist, combatant, challenger, contender, competitor, opposer, fellow contestant
    opposition, competition
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1The Devil.
      • ‘Fasting combined with prayer is a powerful weapon against our adversary, the devil.’
      • ‘Just what does this verse tell us about the fate of the Adversary?’
      • ‘Speakers in Irish folklore conventionally refer to the devil as The Adversary.’
      • ‘It is possible for the adversary to prevent the light of the Gospel from reaching the minds of the lost.’


  • ‘the confrontations of adversary politics’
    another term for adversarial
    • ‘It is the classic adversary system which overlaps with a two-party system, and the arguments and votes are often predictable.’
    • ‘If the chief virtue of the adversary system lies in giving opposing parties a hearing, its greatest vice lies in giving those parties an incentive to silence each other.’
    • ‘Winner-take-all electoral systems and adversary politics result in truth being irrelevant.’
    • ‘You are not judges now, but advocates under this adversary system we have been discussing.’
    • ‘The adversary procedure followed in a court of law is not appropriate in its investigations.’
    • ‘Amendments to the Criminal Procedure law in 1996 introduced adversary elements to the fact-finding process in criminal trials.’
    • ‘It's got an adversary system that obscures the truth; trials are run by lawyers and they don't have much interest in truth and justice.’
    • ‘The very adversary structure that put me off from litigation is now the norm in political life in general and political life is not a place for honest exchange.’
    • ‘For generations, Scotland has maintained an adversary culture, defining itself by its differences from England.’
    • ‘Cynical adversary stances are not helpful - belief is necessary.’
    • ‘In the adversary system, we depend on lawyers to bring cases.’
    • ‘There is too much at stake in this relationship for either side to really push an adversary agenda with the other.’
    • ‘The original inspection process, which lasted several years, developed into an adversary process.’
    • ‘Mr Chairman, in our country and the House in particular, we have an adversary system.’
    • ‘You see under the adversary system, as I've said, the parties produce the evidence.’
    • ‘She also focuses on the ways in which the use of the adversary method as a paradigm of philosophy limits and distorts the work of philosophers.’
    • ‘Our legal system is fundamentally an adversary system - and this solution would betray its very nature.’
    • ‘This right is fundamental to the adversary system of justice in the Untied States.’
    • ‘It is a necessary concomitant or consequence of this particular system which is an inquisitorial system, rather than a strict adversary system.’
    • ‘If it ever rises to the 80% range, the current adversary relationship would have to change.’


Middle English: from Old French adversarie, from Latin adversarius opposed, opponent from adversus (see adverse).