When circumstances or situations work against you, you face adversity. Refugees from war-torn countries encounter terrible adversity.

Adversity, a noun which has been part of the English language for over 800 years, comes from the Latin adversus, literally "turned against," and figuratively "hostile or unfavorable." When things seem against you — circumstances or a stroke of bad luck — you are facing adversity. Sometimes people use a form of the phrase "turning adversity into opportunity." This refers to the ability some people or companies have to take a bad situation and make it into a successful one.

Definitions of adversity

n a state of misfortune or affliction

“debt-ridden farmers struggling with adversity
hard knocks, hardship
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lack of prosperity or happiness or health
catastrophe, disaster
a state of extreme (usually irremediable) ruin and misfortune
an extreme condition or state (especially of adversity or disease)
a state of adversity (danger or affliction or need)
a state of great suffering and distress due to adversity
victimisation, victimization
adversity resulting from being made a victim
low-water mark, nadir
an extreme state of adversity; the lowest point of anything
miserableness, misery, wretchedness
a state of ill-being due to affliction or misfortune
extreme distress of body or mind
bitter end
the final extremity (however unpleasant it may be)
an oppressive condition of physical or mental or social or economic distress
hard or painful trouble or struggle
cross, crown of thorns
any affliction that causes great suffering
Type of:
bad luck, ill luck, misfortune, tough luck
an unfortunate state resulting from unfavorable outcomes

n a stroke of ill fortune; a calamitous event

“a period marked by adversities
Type of:
bad luck, misfortune
unnecessary and unforeseen trouble resulting from an unfortunate event

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