nemeses

nemesis

[nem-uh-sis]
noun, plural nemeses [nem-uh-seez] .
1.
something that a person cannot conquer, achieve, etc.: The performance test proved to be my nemesis.
2.
an opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome.
3.
(initial capital letter) Classical Mythology. the goddess of divine retribution.
4.
an agent or act of retribution or punishment.

Origin:
< Latin < Greek némesis literally, a dealing out, verbid of némein to dispense (justice); see -sis


1. Waterloo. 4. downfall, undoing, ruin, Waterloo.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
Nemesis (ˈnɛmɪsɪs)
 
n , pl -ses
1.  Greek myth the goddess of retribution and vengeance
2.  (sometimes not capital) any agency of retribution and vengeance
 
[C16: via Latin from Greek: righteous wrath, from némein to distribute what is due]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

Nemesis
1576, "Gk. goddess of vengeance," from nemesis "just indignation, jealousy, vengeance," lit. "distribution," related to nemein "distribute, allot, apportion one's due," from PIE base *nem- "to divide, distribute, allot, to take" (cf. O.E., Goth. niman "to take," Ger. nehmen). With a lower-case -n-, in
the sense of "retributive justice," attested from 1597. General sense of "anything by which it seems one must be defeated" is 20c.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
Nemesis [(nem-uh-sis)]

In classical mythology, the Greek goddess of vengeance.

Note: By extension, a “nemesis” is an avenger. One's nemesis is that which will bring on one's destruction or downfall.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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