American English

Definition of enemy noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    (pl. enemies)
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  1. 1[countable] a person who hates someone or who acts or speaks against someone or something He has a lot of enemies in the company. After just one day, she had already made an enemy of her manager. They used to be friends but they are now sworn enemies (= are determined not to become friends again). It is rare to find a prominent politician with few political enemies. The state has a duty to protect its citizens against external enemies. Birds are the natural enemies of many insect pests (= they kill them). see also enmity
  2. 2the enemy [singular] a country that you are fighting a war against; the soldiers, etc. of this country The enemy was forced to retreat. enemy forces/aircraft/territory behind enemy lines (= the area controlled by the enemy) Topic CollocationsWar and Peacestarting a war declare/wage war (on somebody/something) go to war (against/with somebody) cause/spark/provoke/foment/quell unrest incite/lead/crush/suppress a revolt/rebellion launch/mount/carry out a surprise/terrorist attack prevent/halt/represent an escalation of the conflict be torn apart by/be on the brink of civil war enter/invade/occupy somebody's territory lead/launch/resist/repel an invasionmilitary operations adopt/develop/implement/pursue a military strategy carry out/execute/perform military operations/maneuvers send/deploy/station/pull back/withdraw troops go on/fly/carry out a reconnaissance/rescue mission train/equip/deploy army/military/combat units lead/launch/conduct an (air/airborne/amphibious) attack/a surprise attack (on somebody); an assault/a raid (on somebody) employ/use guerrilla tactics conduct/wage biological/guerrilla warfare fight/crush/defeat the rebels/the insurgency suffer/inflict a crushing defeat achieve/win a decisive victory halt/stop the American/German advance order/force a retreatfighting join/serve in the Army/Navy/Air Force/Marines/Coast Guard/reserves be/go/remain/serve on active duty do/complete/return from a tour of duty be sent to the front (line) attack/strike/engage/defeat/kill/destroy the enemy witness/see/report/be engaged in heavy fighting call for/be met with armed resistance come under heavy/machine-gun/mortar fire fire a machine gun/mortar shells/rockets (at somebody/something) shoot a rifle/a pistol/bullets/missiles launch/fire a(n) cruise/ballistic/anti-tank missile use biological/chemical/nuclear weapons inflict/suffer/sustain heavy losses/casualties be hit/killed by enemy/friendly/artillery fire become/be held as/be taken as a prisoner of warcivilians in war harm/kill/target/protect innocent/unarmed civilians cause/avoid/limit/minimize civilian casualties/collateral damage impose/enforce/lift a curfew engage in/be a victim of ethnic cleansing be sent to a concentration/an internment camp accept/house/resettle/turn away refugees fleeing from war fear/threaten military/violent reprisals commit/be accused of war crimes/crimes against humanity/genocidemaking peace make/bring/win/achieve/maintain/promote peace call for/negotiate/broker/declare a ceasefire/a temporary truce sign a ceasefire agreement call for/bring/put an end to hostilities demand/negotiate/accept the surrender of somebody/something establish/send (in) a peacekeeping force negotiate/conclude/ratify/sign/accept/reject/break/violate a peace treaty
  3. 3[countable] enemy (of something) (formal) anything that harms something or prevents it from being successful Poverty and ignorance are the enemies of progress.
  4. Idioms
    be your own worst enemy
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    to be the cause of your own problems Her indecisiveness makes her her own worst enemy.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: enemy

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