The Alternative English Dictionary: against

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Entry definition

against Alternative forms: againest (obsolete), agaynst (obsolete), agaynest (obsolete), agenst (obsolete), agenest (obsolete), ageinst (obsolete), ageinest (obsolete), ageynst (obsolete), ageynest (obsolete), agin (colloquial or humorous) etymology Formed from Middle English agenes, againes, 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. pronunciation
  • (UK) /əˈɡɛnst/, /əˈɡeɪnst/
  • (US) /əˈɡɛnst/
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preposition: {{en-prep}}
  1. (heading, physical) A close but separated relationship.
    1. In a contrary direction to. exampleIf you swim against the current, you must work harder.
    2. Close to.{{rfex}} exampleThe kennel was put against the back wall.
      • 1898, Winston Churchill (novelist) , The Celebrity, 5 , “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. exampleThe giant was silhouetted against the door.
    4. In physical contact with. exampleThe puppy rested its head against a paw.
    5. In physical opposition to, or in collision with. exampleThe rain pounds against the window.
      • 1922, Michael Arlen, [ “Piracy”: A Romantic Chronicle of These Days], 3/19/2 , “Ivor had acquired more than a mile of fishing rights with the house ; he was not at all a good fisherman, but one must do something ; one generally, however, banged a ball with a squash-racket against a wall.”
  2. (heading, social) A contrasting or competitive relationship.
    1. In contrast and/or comparison with. exampleHe stands out against his local classmates.
    2. In competition with, versus. exampleThe Tigers will play against the Bears this weekend.
      • {{RQ:EHough PrqsPrc}} “[…] 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.”
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    3. In opposition to. exampleAre you against freedom of choice?  I'd bet against his succeeding.
      • 1898, Winston Churchill (novelist) , The Celebrity, 4 , “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.”
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  3. In exchange for.{{rfex}}
  4. As counterbalance to.{{rfex}}
  5. As a charge on.{{rfex}}
  6. As protection from. exampleHe turned the umbrella against the wind.
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  7. (obsolete) Exposed to.{{rfex}}
  8. In anticipation of; in preparation for (a particular time, event etc.).
    • {{RQ:Flr Mntgn 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 {{transterm}} the time he was to make a solemne feast.
Synonyms: (in competition with) versus
antonyms: {{checksense}}
  • for
  • with
conjunction: {{head}}
  1. (obsolete) By the time that (something happened); before.
    • {{RQ:Spenser 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.
adverb: {{en-adv}}
  1. In opposition to something. exampleAre you for the new ring road? No, I'm against.
  2. (gambling) Having a specified likelihood of not winning or happening. exampleThe second favourite won the race at odds of two to one against.
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