Definition of against in English:

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Pronunciation: /əˈɡɛnst/
Pronunciation: /əˈɡeɪnst/


1In opposition to: the fight against crime he decided against immediate publication swimming against the tide
More example sentences
  • It is vital in the fight against crime that the public is able to trust law enforcement officials.
  • He has fought against it in government, in opposition and within his own party.
  • In opposition, we were against the privatisation of air traffic control, then did the opposite in power.
opposed to, in opposition to, hostile to, averse to, antagonistic towards, inimical to, unsympathetic to, resistant to, at odds with, in disagreement with, contra;
in defiance of, versus, counter, at cross purposes with, dead set against
informal anti, con, agin
1.1With reference to legal action: the first victim gave evidence against him
More example sentences
  • He has no right to appeal against deportation but under a legal loophole can appeal against the destination.
  • An officer cannot appeal against a decision for an allegation to be formally investigated.
  • Unlike England, the poor had the right of legal appeal against the denial of relief.
1.2With reference to a sporting contest: the championship match against Somerset
More example sentences
  • We may have lost the match against Brazil but the game has helped to save the life of a local man.
  • In the last game against Brisbane he lacked match fitness and failed to make a contribution.
  • The remaining 17 games include matches against all the other sides in the bottom eight.
2In anticipation of and preparation for (a problem or difficulty): he gritted his teeth against the pain makeshift barricades against tank attacks
More example sentences
  • Claire gritted her teeth against the pain, a high, keen sound escaping her lips.
  • Uranium was used to shield tanks against attack by conventional armour-piercing weapons.
  • It is, for the time being, a great insurance against any terrorist attack.
in case of, in/as provision for, in preparation for, in anticipation of, in expectation of
2.1(In betting) in anticipation of the failure of: the odds were 5-1 against England
More example sentences
  • Byrd is favored but people have gone to the poor house betting against Evander Holyfield.
  • Betting exchanges allow people to bet against each other person-to-person over the internet.
  • From August the odds each month against winning the jackpot are 13 billion to one for each bond.
2.2In resistance to; as protection from: he turned up his collar against the wind
More example sentences
  • A curtain has been fixed at the eastern end of the shelter as a protection against the driving wind and rain.
  • Vines are trained on low bushes as protection against the strong winds.
  • He had a brown suede jacket with light brown denim pants, his collar was turned up against the wind.
to protect oneself from, in resistance to
2.3In relation to (an amount of money owed, due, or lent) so as to reduce, cancel, or secure it: money was advanced against the value of the property
More example sentences
  • Invoice financing is similar to factoring, where banks lend against sales and money owed by debtors.
  • Landlords can offset the interest they pay on their mortgage against rental income to reduce the amount of tax they pay.
  • This has resulted in massive volume growth in lending against rising asset values.
3In conceptual contrast to: the benefits must be weighed against the costs
More example sentences
  • The benefits of overthrow must of course be weighed against the horrific costs of war.
  • Vaccinations are expensive and costs must be weighed up against the risks involved.
  • Businesses say the advantages of trading with Europe have to be weighed against the increased cost of red tape.
3.1In visual contrast to: he was silhouetted against the light of the stair window
More example sentences
  • Behind us, a small silhouette against a light grey sky was the castle.
  • Mai appeared at the door, silhouetted against the brighter light from the other room.
  • All but one of the boilers remained in position, silhouetted against the green water and ambient light.
in contrast to, as a foil to
4In or into physical contact with (something), so as to be supported by or collide with it: she stood with her back against the door frustration made him bang his head against the wall
More example sentences
  • This is done by cutting off all fruited canes at the base and untangling new growth and tying it to supports against the wall or fence.
  • After one last, warning crush, he let go, my frame slumping against the wall for support.
  • She put out a hand against the wall for support, and took several soothing breaths.
touching, in contact with, close up to, up against, abutting, on, adjacent to



against one's wishes

When one is unwilling or has refused: if any photos or information are included here against your wishes, please let me know and they will be removed immediately
More example sentences
  • Jacqui Smith had clashed with Mr Johnson over the departure of Sir Ian, who was ousted against her wishes.
  • We would not accept the Vatican (or anyone else) reburying our dearest against their wishes.
  • Strangely enough, I had to leave my close comrades-in-arms behind or send them, against their wishes, to distant places.

against the law (or rules)

Illegal or unlawful: cockfighting has been against the law in South Carolina for 120 years it was against the rules to have a guy in a girl’s room
More example sentences
  • According to Help the Aged research, more than 80 % of us think age discrimination is already against the law.
  • Using cruise control in Belgium is against the law.
  • Unauthorised racing on the road is already against the law.

have something against someone

Dislike or bear a grudge towards someone: I have nothing against you personally
More example sentences
  • She was anxious that I should not have a grudge against the country, but I was already feeling quite at home.
  • She said: ‘I don't know anyone who would have a grudge against me and want to do this.’
  • I think it must be someone who wants us out of the area or has a grudge against us but we're not moving anywhere.


Middle English: from again + -s (adverbial genitive) + -t probably by association with superlatives (as in amongst).

Words that rhyme with against


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: against

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