a person who is on an opposing side in a game, contest, controversy, or the like; adversary.
being opposite, as in position.
opposing; adverse; antagonistic.
Anatomy. bringing parts together or into opposition, as a muscle.

1580–90; < Latin oppōnent- (stem of oppōnēns, present participle of oppōnere to place over, against, or in front of, make an obstacle), equivalent to op- op- + pōn(ere) to place, set, put + -ent- -ent

1. antagonist. Opponent, competitor, rival refer to persons engaged in a contest. Opponent is the most impersonal, meaning merely one who opposes; perhaps one who continually blocks and frustrates or one who happens to be on the opposite side in a temporary contest: an opponent in a debate. Competitor emphasizes the action in striving against another, or others, for a definite, common goal: competitors in business. Rival has both personal and emotional connotations; it emphasizes the idea that (usually) two persons are struggling to attain the same object: rivals for an office.

1. ally, friend.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
opponent (əˈpəʊnənt)
1.  a person who opposes another in a contest, battle, etc
2.  anatomy an opponent muscle
3.  opposite, as in position
4.  anatomy (of a muscle) bringing two parts into opposition
5.  opposing; contrary
[C16: from Latin oppōnere to oppose, from ob- against + pōnere to place]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1588, from L. opponentem (nom. opponens), prp. of opponere "oppose, object to, set against," from ob "against" + ponere "to put, set, place" (see position).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
If an opponent hesitates, it is perfectly proper to draw conclusions but you do
  so at your own risk.
Any columnist or opponent of the president will use it to poke fun at him.
Historically, scoring for tournaments was based largely on if a knight could
  break his spear on his opponent.
Most such conflicts end with a third party intervening, usually in favor of one
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