Adverse and averse are both turn-offs, but adverse is something harmful, and averse is a strong feeling of dislike. Rainstorms can cause adverse conditions, and many people are averse to rain.

Definition:

adverse

Steer clear of anything adverse. If it’s adverse, it’s working against you — like adverse weather conditions or the adverse effects of eating too much sugar.

Coming from the Latin adversus meaning “turned against,” adverse is an adjective describing a factor that seems to work against or actively harm something. Think of the related word, adversary, which means enemy or opponent, so that if something is adverse, it acts as if it were the enemy. Often you can find expressions such as “he is risk adverse” as a way to say that someone doesn’t like taking risks.

averse

To be averse to something is to be opposed to it on moral, philosophical or aesthetic grounds: my father is averse to people smoking cigarettes in the house, but he would not be averse to your smoking a cigar.

Averse comes from a Latin word, aversus, which means “turned away from.” To be averse to something is to shun it, turn away from it, or dislike it. Some people are averse to the use of cilantro in any food that comes near them, some others are averse to wearing itchy wool sweaters, and others are averse to any form of exercise. Aversions are really very personal.

Adverse and averse are both turn-offs, but adverse is something harmful, and averseis a strong feeling of dislike. Rainstorms can cause adverseconditions, and many people are averse to rain.

Adverse describes something that works against you, like a tornado or a computer crash, and is usually applied to things. It’s often followed by the word effects:

More significantly, he has shown that if such ageing cells are selectively destroyed, these adverse effects go away. (Economist)

The pact was intended to limit the adverse effects of climate change but only obliged developed countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (Scientific American)

Averse is usually applied to feelings, attitudes, or people. It’s a strong feeling of opposition — it’s a big “no thanks” and it’s often followed by to. Averse also goes with risk to describe people (or banks) who don’t like taking them:

Balth isn’t averse to including human beings in his work. (Seattle Times)

Nevertheless, Ms. Fishbein is not averse to a large sociable gathering. (New York Times)

Your survey shows that banks are more risk-averse than they used to be. (Business Week)

If it’s a force of nature working against you, use adverse. Kick out the “d” and a person can beaverseto or againstanything, like rainy days or gambling.

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