There are 2 main definitions of nemesis in English:

Share this entry

nemesis 1

Syllabification: nem·e·sis
Pronunciation: /ˈneməsəs/

noun (plural nemeses-ˌsēz)

1The inescapable agent of someone’s or something’s downfall: the balance beam was the team’s nemesis, as two gymnasts fell from the apparatus
More example sentences
  • The title explains a lot - a dishonoured soccer champ wants to assemble and coach a winning team to confront his nemesis, while mouthy yet impecunious martial artist Sing wants to spread the word of kung fu.
  • Arrows have proven the nemesis of most teams visiting Durban and have established themselves as a formidable outfit.
  • He was contemplating a comeback recently when offered a place in the German Davis Cup team by his old nemesis Stich.
Synonyms
archrival, adversary, foe, opponent, arch enemy
1.1A long-standing rival; an archenemy: will Harry Potter finally defeat his nemesis, Voldemort?
More example sentences
  • Unsure of himself, Guy spoiled for a decisive battle with the Crusader nemesis, Saladin.
  • I offered coffee to anyone who came in the office, including my nemesis, Mr. Coffee Man.
  • Perhaps he feels he can now forgive his old nemesis the Bishop of Rome.
1.2A downfall caused by an inescapable agent: one risks nemesis by uttering such words
More example sentences
  • Nor is nemesis, the overpowering sense of eventual destruction, far from the political lives of these players.
  • In all the best blockbusters, when disaster has dawned and nemesis looks likely by breakfast, there appears in the script a snowy-haired elder.
Synonyms
downfall, undoing, ruin, ruination, destruction, Waterloo
1.3 (often Nemesis) Retributive justice: nemesis is notoriously slow
More example sentences
  • And as any student of Greek tragedy knows, the presence of hubris usually means that nemesis - the righteous retribution of the Gods - is not far behind.
Synonyms
retribution, vengeance, punishment, just deserts;
fate, destiny

Origin

Late 16th century: Greek, literally 'retribution', from nemein 'give what is due'.

More
  • This word for someone's or something's downfall is Greek; the literal meaning is ‘retribution’, from nemein ‘give what is due’.

Words that rhyme with nemesis

electrolysis

Definition of nemesis in:

Share this entry

 

There are 2 main definitions of nemesis in English:

Share this entry

Nemesis 2 Syllabification: Nem·e·sis
Pronunciation: /ˈneməsis/
Greek Mythology

Definition of nemesis in:

Share this entry

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day fortissimo
Pronunciation: fɔːˈtɪsɪməʊ
adverb
(especially as a direction) very loud or loudly