9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[en-uh-mee] /ˈɛn ə mi/
noun, plural enemies.
a person who feels hatred for, fosters harmful designs against, or engages in antagonistic activities against another; an adversary or opponent.
an armed foe; an opposing military force:
The army attacked the enemy at dawn.
a hostile nation or state.
a citizen of such a state.
enemies, persons, nations, etc., that are hostile to one another:
Let's make up and stop being enemies.
something harmful or prejudicial:
His unbridled ambition is his worst enemy.
the Enemy, the Devil; Satan.
belonging to a hostile power or to any of its nationals:
enemy property.
Obsolete. inimical; ill-disposed.
Origin of enemy
1250-1300; Middle English enemi < Anglo-French, Old French < Latin inimicus unfriendly, equivalent to in- in-3 + amicus friendly, friend; see amicable
Related forms
nonenemy, noun, plural nonenemies.
1. antagonist. Enemy, foe refer to a dangerous public or personal adversary. Enemy emphasizes the idea of hostility: to overcome the enemy; a bitter enemy. Foe, a more literary word, may be used interchangeably with enemy, but emphasizes somewhat more the danger to be feared from such a one: deadly foe; arch foe of humankind (the Devil ).
1. friend. 2. ally.
Usage note Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for enemy
  • Caricaturing your enemy as a psychopath simply ensures that you will never defeat him.
  • The enemy of our enemy may be our new partner in stopping a global health crisis.
  • Concrete and steel are the materials of choice when building buildings and vehicles that will protect soldiers from enemy fire.
  • If the enemy was scaling the walls, soldiers could drop rocks or boiling oil down through the holes and onto the enemy below.
  • In the meantime, we'll be vigilantly guarding our wheat from the squirrel enemy.
  • Every elected official is a potential enemy of the people.
  • In short, those who demand perfect consistency are making the perfect the enemy of the good.
  • Your lion would likely be covered in the blood of your enemy and thus be looking pretty ferocious.
  • And some are concerned that the laser could still be used to push enemy satellites out of orbit.
  • Having a common enemy isn't enough to justify working together, of course.
British Dictionary definitions for enemy


noun (pl) -mies
a person hostile or opposed to a policy, cause, person, or group, esp one who actively tries to do damage; opponent
  1. an armed adversary; opposing military force
  2. (as modifier): enemy aircraft
  1. a hostile nation or people
  2. (as modifier): an enemy alien
something that harms or opposes; adversary: courage is the enemy of failure
adjective inimical
Word Origin
C13: from Old French enemi, from Latin inimīcus hostile, from in-1 + amīcus friend
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for enemy

early 13c., from Old French enemi (12c.), earlier inimi (9c.) "enemy, adversary, foe, demon, the Devil," from Latin inimicus "hostile, unfriendly; an enemy" (source of Italian nemico, Catalan enamic, Spanish enemigo, Portuguese inimigo), from in- "not" (see in- (1)) + amicus "friend" related to amare "to love" (see Amy).

Most words for "personal enemy" cover also "enemy in war," but certain languages have special terms for the latter, e.g. Greek polemioi (distinct from ekhthroi), Latin hostis, originally "stranger" (distinct from inimicus), Russian neprijatel' (distinct from vrag).

Russian vrag (Old Church Slavonic vragu) is cognate with Lithuanian vargas "misery" (see urge), and probably is related to Proto-Germanic *wargoz, source of Old Norse vargr "outlaw," hence "wolf;" Icelandic vargur "fox," Old English wearg "criminal, felon;" which likely were the inspirations for J.R.R. Tolkien's warg "a kind of large ferocious wolf" in "The Hobbit" (1937) and "Lord of the Rings." Related: Enemies.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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