There are 2 main definitions of nemesis in English:


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.
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.
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.
retribution, vengeance, punishment, just deserts;
fate, destiny


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

Definition of nemesis in: