There are 2 main definitions of nemesis in English:


Line breaks: nem|esis
Pronunciation: /ˈnɛmɪsɪs

noun (plural nemeses /-siːz/)

1The inescapable agent of someone’s or something’s downfall: injury, consistently his nemesis, struck him down during the match
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.
1.1A long-standing rival; an arch-enemy: 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.
1.2 [mass noun] A 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.
1.3 (often Nemesis) [mass noun] 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.
retribution, vengeance, retributive justice, punishment, just deserts;
fate, destiny


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

Definition of nemesis in: