Definition of adverse in English:
- Despite the adverse blustery weather conditions, it was clear that Oxford had the edge.
- The development will not have any adverse effect upon bats or other wildlife living in the area.
- She said the development would have major adverse impacts on the beauty of the landscape.
The two words adverse and averse are related in origin but they do not have the same meaning. Adverse means ‘unfavourable or harmful’ and is normally used of conditions and effects rather than people, as in adverse weather conditions. Averse, on the other hand, is used of people, nearly always with to, and means ‘having a strong dislike or opposition to something’, as in I am not averse to helping out. A common error is to use adverse instead of averse, as in he is not adverse to making a profit.
verse from Old English:
In his poem ‘Digging’ (1966), Seamus Heaney resolves to carry on the family tradition of digging the soil by ‘digging’ himself, not with a spade like his father and grandfather, but with a pen. The link between agriculture and writing poetry goes all the way back to the origin of the word verse, as Latin versus meant both ‘a turn of the plough, furrow’ and ‘a line of writing’. The idea here is that of a plough turning and marking another straight line or furrow. Versus is also the source of versatile (early 17th century) and version (Late Middle English), and it is based on Latin vertere ‘to turn’, from which vertebra (early 17th century), vertical (mid 16th century), vertigo (Late Middle English), and many other words such as adverse (Late Middle English), convert (Late Middle English), and pervert (Late Middle English) ‘turn bad’. Vortex (mid 17th century) is closely related. Versed (early 17th century), as in well versed in, is different, coming from Latin versari ‘be engaged in’.
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