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Adverse vs Averse


  • ‘Adverse’ (adj) means ‘having a negative or harmful effect on something’.
  • ‘Averse’ (adj) means ‘having a strong dislike against something’.

What’s the difference between ‘adverse’ and ‘averse’?

It is easy to see how these two words can be confused. They look and sound alike, and both carry a negative connotation. However, their meanings are different.

  • ‘Adverse’ is frequently used in Medicine, combined with nouns such as ‘events’, ‘effects’, or ‘reactions’ to a particular drug or treatment.
  • ‘Averse’ is used to describe someone’s negative position on something; e.g. ‘he/she is averse to X’. This word is often followed by the preposition ‘to’.

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How they’re used

Example sentences with ‘adverse’

  • The incidence of adverse reactions is well documented.
  • The intensity of the adverse events associated with the drug was reported.

Example sentences with ‘averse’

  • The general public is averse to machines making moral decisions.
  • Some buyers are averse to high risk when making investments.