The Italian Chef considered it adverse cookery to combine a sweet flavor to a food oozing with salt and spice. He was averse to the idea of pineapple slices on pizza.

The words adverse and averse are tricky to use and evade comprehension for a variety of reasons. Foremost, they have the same root word, which means they are both derived from the same ancestor word ‘vertere’. ‘Vertere’ is a Latin word which means ‘turn’. Adverse comes from ‘advertere’ – a combination of the prefix ‘ad’ with the root ‘vertere’ that literally means ‘to turn.’ Later, ‘advertere’ evolved to become ‘aversus’ which combined with the English verb ‘avert’ and gave birth to ‘averse’.

Next, both words have a minor overlap in their meaning. Adverse reflects the meaning of a counterintuitive, non-beneficial, or antagonistic approach. For instance, a plan that opposes its own objectives, or is harmful, unproductive or undesirable is an adverse plan. Averse refers to the quality of repugnance, repulsion, or reluctance to an idea or thought. For example, if an ideology or philosophy repels or offends you, you are averse to that ideology.

It is worth noting that adverse can refer to anything antagonistic; for example, ‘this is an adverse outcome.’

However, averse is only used for the person or entity that feels opposed to the negative object in consideration. For the same situation averse will be used in the following way,

‘I am averse to this outcome.’

Albeit both words belong to the same part of speech (i.e., both are adjectives), but have different meanings and distinct uses. Follow this article till the end to learn more on the topic:

Adverse vs averse – definition, uses, and example sentences

Definition of adverse

Adverse is pronounced ‘uhd-vuhs.’ It is an adjective and is thus used in conjunction with a noun. It qualifies a noun with the property of being harmful or counterproductive to one’s own interests; for instance, an adverse decision. It is also used to refer to a noun that is undesirable, unwanted, or unfavorable; for instance, an adverse effect. Lastly, adverse is also used in a positional sense to pertain to something directly opposite or confronting. Words synonymous with adverse include inauspicious, undesirable, and confronting.

Example sentences of adverse

  • The retiree lost a big chunk of his life savings to a chain of adverse investments.

In the first sentence, the adjective adverse qualifies the noun investments as ‘unfavorable or unfortunate’. It indicates that the investments did not turn out to be favorable.

  • Creationists have tried to disprove the Theory of Evolution many times but their own researches return adverse findings.

Here, the adjective adverse qualifies the noun findings as ‘opposed or contrary to one’s interests.’ Here, it indicates that the findings are contrary to their interests and wishes.

  • The ruling party is launching a smear campaign against the adverse party to derail their agenda.

Here, adverse is used in the meaning of ‘facing or confronting’. Thus, the adverse party is the party that confronts or conflicts with the ruling party. In this case, the ruling party wanted to initialize a smear campaign to invalidate the opposing party’s agenda.

Definition of averse

Averse is pronounced ‘uh-vuhs’. It is also an adjective and used in union with a noun. However, it is used differently in a sentence. Averse pertains to the quality of something repulsive, disgusting, or despicable in one’s view. It is also used to project disinclination or disliking for an entity, an abstract, or an ideology. It is used in a sentence following the preposition ‘to’. For instance, I am averse to capitalism. Synonyms of the word under discussion include fromward, disliking, or disinclining.

Example sentences of averse

  • The Republicans are averse to socialism so much so that any propaganda marring it is popular among them.

In the first sentence, averse is used to indicate repugnance or hate for the ideology of socialism.

  • It was obvious from her deathly stares that she was averse to his chewing noises.

Here, the adjective averse refers to the woman’s reaction to the man’s chewing noises as ‘disliking or loathsome’.

  • The dutiful and honest police officer was averse to bribery.

Lastly, averse is used to show the officer’s aversion or reluctance towards an abstract concept of taking a bribe.


Adverse and averse are adjectives with seemingly similar meanings and a closely branching Latin origin. However, upon deeper understanding, it becomes apparent that these adjectives have distinct meanings and different use in a sentence structure. Adverse is used for nouns, like plans and outcomes, that are either counterintuitive or undesirable. Whereas, averse is used to endow nouns, like views and ideas, with repulsive or repugnant qualities. It is worth noting that adverse is usually used objectively; for instance to estimate the productivity or benefits of something. Whereas, averse is used largely subjectively to show the subject’s aversion or repulsion to a noun. Remember that drugs have ‘adverse effects’ to memorize the meaning of adverse as unwanted, unfavorable, or counterintuitive. After that, you can remember that ‘you are averse to the idea of using drugs’ because you are too repulsive to even consider it.