v. op·posed, op·pos·ing, op·pos·es
1. To be or act in contention or conflict with: opposed their crosstown rivals in the season finale.
2. To be hostile or resistant to; try to prevent: opposes the building of a new police station.
a. To set as an opposite in position: opposed the painting with a mirror across the room.
b. To present in counterbalance or contrast: ideas that were opposed to each other in her first book.
To be or act in opposition.
as opposed to
In contrast to: "a Baroque violin that ... uses gut strings as opposed to metal-wound ones" (William Zagorski).
[Middle English opposen, to question, interrogate, from Old French opposer, alteration (influenced by poser, to place) of Latin oppōnere, to oppose (ob-, against; see OB- + pōnere, to put; see apo- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots).]
Synonyms: oppose, fight, combat, resist, contest
These verbs mean to try to thwart or defeat someone or prevent or nullify something. Oppose has the widest application: opposed the building of a nuclear power plant. "The idea is inconsistent with our constitutional theory and has been stubbornly opposed ... since the early days of the Republic" (E.B. White).
Fight and combat suggest vigor and aggressiveness: "All my life I have fought against prejudice and intolerance" (Harry S. Truman). "We are not afraid ... to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it" (Thomas Jefferson).
To resist is to strive to fend off or offset the actions, effects, or force of: "Pardon was freely extended to all who had resisted the invasion" (John R. Green).
To contest is to call something into question and take an active stand against it: contested her neighbor's claims to her property in court.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.