Steer clear of anything adverse. If it's adverse, it's working against you — like adverse weather conditions or the adverse effects of eating too much sugar.

Coming from the Latin adversus meaning "turned against," adverse is an adjective describing a factor that seems to work against or actively harm something. Think of the related word, adversary, which means enemy or opponent, so that if something is adverse, it acts as if it were the enemy. If you have an adverse reaction to an antibiotic, your doctor will need to prescribe a new medication.

Definitions of adverse

adj in an opposing direction

adverse currents”
unfavorable, unfavourable
(of winds or weather) tending to hinder or oppose

adj contrary to your interests or welfare

adverse circumstances”
inauspicious, untoward
unfavorable, unfavourable
not encouraging or approving or pleasing

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.