against

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Formed from Middle English agenes, againes (in opposition to), a southern variant of agen, or directly from again, either way with adverbial genitive singular ending -es; the parasitic -t was added circa 1350, probably by confusion with the superlative ending -est. Surface analysis again +‎ -st ((excrescence)).

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (UK) IPA(key): /əˈɡɛnst/, /əˈɡeɪnst/
  • (US) IPA(key): /əˈɡɛnst/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: a‧gainst

Preposition[edit]

against

  1. (physical) A close but separated relationship.
    1. In a contrary direction to.
      If you swim against the current, you must work harder.
    2. Close to.
      The kennel was put against the back wall.
      • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 5, The Celebrity:
        We expressed our readiness, and in ten minutes were in the station wagon, rolling rapidly down the long drive, for it was then after nine. [] As we reached the lodge we heard the whistle, and we backed up against one side of the platform as the train pulled up at the other.
    3. In front of; before a background.
      The giant was silhouetted against the door.
    4. In physical contact with.
      The puppy rested its head against a paw.
    5. In physical opposition to, or in collision with.
      The rain pounds against the window.
  2. (social) A contrasting or competitive relationship.
    1. In contrast and/or comparison with.
      He stands out against his local classmates.
    2. In competition with, versus.
      The Tigers will play against the Bears this weekend.
      • 1910, Emerson Hough, chapter 1, The Purchase Price:
        “[…] it is not fair of you to bring against mankind double weapons ! Dangerous enough you are as woman alone, without bringing to your aid those gifts of mind suited to problems which men have been accustomed to arrogate to themselves.”
      • 2011 September 24, Aled Williams, “Chelsea 4-1 Swansea”, BBC Sport:
        The breakthrough came through Torres who, pilloried for his miss against Manchester United a week earlier, scored his second goal of the season.
    3. In opposition to.
      are you against freedom of choice?;  I'd bet against his succeeding
      • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 4, The Celebrity:
        Mr. Cooke at once began a tirade against the residents of Asquith for permitting a sandy and generally disgraceful condition of the roads. So roundly did he vituperate the inn management in particular, and with such a loud flow of words, that I trembled lest he should be heard on the veranda.
      • 2013 May-June, David Van Tassel, Lee DeHaan, “Wild Plants to the Rescue”, American Scientist, volume 101, number 3: 
        Plant breeding is always a numbers game. [] The wild species we use are rich in genetic variation, […]. In addition, we are looking for rare alleles, so the more plants we try, the better. These rarities may be new mutations, or they can be existing ones that are neutral—or are even selected against—in a wild population. A good example is mutations that disrupt seed dispersal, leaving the seeds on the heads long after they are ripe.
  3. In exchange for.
  4. As counterbalance to.
  5. As a charge on.
  6. As protection from.
    He turned the umbrella against the wind.
  7. (obsolete) Exposed to.
  8. In anticipation of; in preparation for (a particular time, event etc.).
    • 1603, John Florio, translating Michel de Montaigne, Essays, II.11:
      He wrote to a friend of his, that he lived but with browne bread and water, and entreated him to send him a piece of cheese, against [transl. pour] the time he was to make a solemne feast.

Synonyms[edit]

  • (in competition with): versus

Antonyms[edit]

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Translations[edit]

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Conjunction[edit]

against

  1. (obsolete) By the time that (something happened); before.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, II.ix:
      Thence she them brought into a stately Hall, / Wherein were many tables faire dispred, / And ready dight with drapets festiuall, / Against the viaundes should be ministred.
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, Tom Jones, Folio Society 1973, p. 6:
      He now gave Mrs Deborah positive orders to take the child to her own bed, and to call up a maid-servant to provide it pap, and other things, against it waked.

Translations[edit]

Adverb[edit]

against (comparative more against, superlative most against)

  1. In opposition to something.
    Are you for the new ring road? No, I'm against.
  2. (gambling) Having a specified likelihood of not winning or happening.
    The second favourite won the race at odds of two to one against.

Statistics[edit]