Definition of adversity in English:



  • Difficulties; misfortune.

    ‘resilience in the face of adversity’
    [count noun] ‘she overcame many adversities’
    • ‘The team has suffered through some adversity, but they seem to be the better for it.’
    • ‘He symbolises great tolerance, and dogged persistence in the face of adversity.’
    • ‘The book was well received and is a moving account of a man's struggle against adversity.’
    • ‘He is a man who has had to face up to adversity and he has done so with determination and dignity.’
    • ‘Here are real stories of courage against adversity which reveal rich personalities who have much to offer.’
    • ‘Nominees can be able bodied or disabled sportsmen and women and may well have triumphed over adversity.’
    • ‘In both, the aim is to overcome adversity, and those who are most successful are those who have done that best.’
    • ‘They want a better life, and they're prepared to face adversity to get it.’
    • ‘The history of man, which is peppered with triumph over adversity, has been a long and difficult one.’
    • ‘The real issue is that suffering is part of life, as are loss and adversity.’
    • ‘Perhaps the tourist sector could turn adversity into advantage by launching official flood tours of York.’
    • ‘Her brilliance at the keyboard is an inspirational example of how talent can overcome adversity.’
    • ‘The next 12 months will be crucial in establishing whether he can cope with adversity.’
    • ‘They showed that they can stare adversity in the face and still come out on top.’
    • ‘If we abandon our ideals in the face of adversity and aggression, then those ideals were never really in our possession.’
    • ‘Something about these teams seems to draw them together in adversity.’
    • ‘He has overcome massive adversity throughout the last three-and-a-half years.’
    • ‘These would offer hope and understanding at a time when there's so much suffering and adversity in the world.’
    • ‘What they all share is a triumph of the human spirit in adversity.’
    • ‘They share a friendship forged through adversity.’
    misfortune, ill luck, bad luck, trouble, difficulty, hardship, distress, disaster, misadventure, suffering, affliction, sorrow, misery, heartbreak, heartache, wretchedness, tribulation, woe, pain, trauma, torment, torture
    mishap, stroke of ill luck, stroke of bad luck, accident, shock, upset, reverse, reversal, reversal of fortune, setback, crisis, catastrophe, tragedy, calamity, trial, cross, burden, blow, buffet, vicissitude, issue
    hard times, dire straits, trials and tribulations
    hell, hell on earth, hassle, stress
    dolour, travails
    View synonyms


Middle English: from Old French adversite, from Latin adversitas, from advertere turn toward.