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I have been thinking about these two words for quite a while. I have looked up the dictionary on these two words and it seemed as if the two words are not identical. However, there are claims of the two words being easily misunderstood. So, I would like to know what exactly are the differences between the two words(if any). A sample sentence would also be appreciated.

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closed as general reference by Matt Эллен, tchrist, Peter Shor , Kristina Lopez, Mitch Mar 26 '13 at 21:04

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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I think you misread the dictionary. Adverse and averse are not alike. –  Matt Эллен Mar 26 '13 at 13:30
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Yes they are. They come from a common root that indicates turning. Averse (stressed on the second syllable) is an adjective that means turning away from something in dislike (He's averse to politics), while adverse (stressed on the first syllable) is an adjective that describes (and often modifies) circumstances, meaning that the situation has turned on one and become difficult (In adverse conditions like this blizzard, they won't expect you at work); the "turning" is metaphorical, but it's enough to confuse. –  John Lawler Mar 26 '13 at 14:18

1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted

While they are both adjectives, averse is having a strong feeling of opposition, antipathy, repugnance, etc.

In contrast, adverse is:

  1. unfavorable or antagonistic in purpose or effect: adverse criticism.
  2. opposing one's interests or desire: adverse circumstances.
  3. being or acting in a contrary direction; opposed or opposing: adverse winds.
  4. opposite; confronting: the adverse page.

In short: Someone would feel averse about something. Something would be adverse.

I am averse to poverty. Dilbert's friend, Wally, is averse to work of any kind.

Poverty is an adverse circumstance. The Pointy-Haired Boss provides a hailstorm of adverse criticism.

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