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Adverse and Averse

The Quick Answer
What is the difference between adverse and averse?

Adverse means hostile. Averse means unwilling.

Adverse

The adjective adverse means antagonistic, opposing, harmful, hostile, or unfavorable (unfavourable ).

Examples:
  • Adverse conditions including rain, snow, ice and fog affect your visibility.
  • He is not responsible for the adverse events in your life.

Averse

The adjective averse means strongly disinclined, unwilling, or loath. (Most often, it refers to people.)

Examples:
  • Are you averse to hunting?
  • The company staff are averse to change.

A Video Summary

Here is a quick video summarizing the difference between adverse and adverse.


(Background music by The Ramones)
Quick Test
 
 
Note

Synonyms of Adverse

The most commonly used synonyms for adverse are hostile, unfavourable, and harmful. Here are some examples of adverse aligned to those synonyms in sentences:
  • Hostile. They endured adverse weather conditions.
  • Unfavorable. Your decision will have an adverse impact.
  • Harmful. Strong coffee has an adverse effect on me.

Synonyms of Averse

Three common synonyms of averse are disinclined, unwilling, loath. These carry different strengths of negativity. Here are some examples in sentences:
  • Disinclined. I am averse to swimming in the bay.
  • (Averse is not always a strong idea. It can imply hesitancy due to uncertainty.)
  • Unwilling. She is averse to meeting you again.
  • (Averse can imply a reluctance.)
  • Loath. I am averse to working with that clown.
  • (Averse can imply repugnance.)