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in opposition to; contrary to; adverse or hostile to:
twenty votes against ten; against reason.
in resistance to or defense from:
protection against burglars.
in an opposite direction to:
to ride against the wind.
into contact or collision with; toward; upon:
The rain beat against the window.
in contact with:
to lean against the wall.
in preparation for; in provision for:
money saved against a rainy day.
having as background:
a design of flowers against a dark wall.
in exchange for; as a balance to or debit or charge on:
He asked for an advance against his salary.
in competition with:
a racehorse running against his own record time.
in comparison or contrast with:
a matter of reason as against emotion.
beside; near; before:
The car is against the building.
Archaic. before; by the time that.
over against, in contrast with:
the rich over against the poor.
Contemporary Examples

The right tried to use this against Obama in 2008, leading FactCheck.org to look into claims that Obama supported infanticide.
Conservative Activists at GOP Convention Doggedly Focus on Abortion Michelle Goldberg August 28, 2012

That something was Christie, who announced his candidacy for the State Senate in 1993, against Majority Leader John Dorsey.
This Civil War Reenactor Controls Christie’s Fate Olivia Nuzzi March 4, 2014

But Warren was actually working for consumers’ interests rather than against them.
The Brown-Warren Debate Michael Tomasky September 20, 2012

Their campaign is going to have to be almost as much against Ryan as against Romney.
Michael Tomasky on Paul Ryan’s Convention Speech and His Web of Lies Michael Tomasky August 29, 2012

Sheehan has railed against President Barack Obama as she did against Bush.
Cindy Sheehan Antiwar Activism Continues Despite Being Used by the Democrats Stephen L. Carter May 15, 2011

Historical Examples

We are more sensible of what is done against custom than against Nature.
Familiar Quotations John Bartlett

But at last there came a day against which no objections could be raised.
Philothea Lydia Maria Child

The gossip of L—— had set in full current against Lilian’s fair name.
A Strange Story, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton

They were good fighters and for a long time they were able to hold their own against all invaders.
Ancient Man Hendrik Willem van Loon

He says, “I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed to him against that day.”
God’s Plan with Men T. T. (Thomas Theodore) Martin

opposed to; in conflict or disagreement with: they fought against the legislation
standing or leaning beside or in front of: a ladder against the wall
coming in contact with: the branches of a tree brushed against the bus
in contrast to: silhouettes are outlines against a light background
having an adverse or unfavourable effect on: the economic system works against small independent companies
as a protection from or means of defence from the adverse effects of: a safeguard against contaminated water
in exchange for or in return for
(rare) in preparation for: he gave them warm clothing against their journey through the night
as against, as opposed to or as compared with: he had two shots at him this time as against only one last time

early 12c., agenes “in opposition to,” a southern variant of agen “again” (see again), with adverbial genitive. The parasitic -t turned up mid-14c. and was standard by early 16c., perhaps from influence of superlatives.

against all odds
against one’s better judgment
against one’s will
against the clock
against the grain
against the tide

also see:

beat one’s head against the wall
cards are stacked against
come up against
count against
dead set against
guard against
have something against
hold something against
lift a hand against
over against
pit someone against
run against
set against
swim against
turn against
two strikes against
up against


Read Also:

  • Against all odds

    In spite of seeming very unlikely, as in Against all odds we had a snowstorm in early May, or Against all odds the slower team won. This transfer of a betting term to general usage occurred about 1900.

  • Grain

    a small, hard seed, especially the seed of a food plant such as wheat, corn, rye, oats, rice, or millet. the gathered seed of food plants, especially of cereal plants. such plants collectively. any small, hard particle, as of sand, gold, pepper, or gunpowder. the smallest unit of weight in most systems, originally determined by […]

  • Against one’s better judgment

    Despite serious misgivings or objections, as in Against my better judgment, I told her to come whenever she pleased.

  • Against one’s will

    Without one’s consent, forcibly, as in The defendant knew he could not be made to testify against his will. Originally one meaning of will was “acquiescence” or “consent,” but this sense survives only in this idiom, which today nearly always implies some use of force. [ c. 1400 ]

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