Definition of enemy noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈenəmi//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈenəmi//
    (pl. enemies) Conflict
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  1. 1  [countable] a person who hates somebody or who acts or speaks against somebody/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. 2  the enemy [singular + singular or plural verb] a country that you are fighting a war against; the soldiers, etc. of this country The enemy was/were forced to retreat. enemy forces/aircraft/territory behind enemy lines (= the area controlled by the enemy) CollocationsWar and peaceStarting a war declare/​make/​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/​manoeuvres/(especially US English) 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 a raid/​a surprise attack/​an (air/​airborne/​amphibious) assault (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 British/​German/​Russian advance order/​force a retreatFighting join/​serve in the army/​navy/​air force be/​go/​remain/​serve on active duty serve/​complete/​return from a tour of duty be sent to the front (line) attack/​strike/​engage/​defeat/​kill/​destroy the enemy 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 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 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 an internment/​a concentration camp accept/​house/​resettle 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 See related entries: Conflict
  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. Word OriginMiddle English: from Old French enemi, from Latin inimicus, from in- ‘not’ + amicus ‘friend’.Extra examples He turned to face his enemy. He was prepared to use any weapon to fight against his enemies. He was shot for desertion in the face of the enemy. I didn’t want to make an enemy of Mr Evans. In today’s match England play their old enemy, Scotland. Intelligence reported enemy activity just off the coast. Iraq’s traditional enemy, Iran It is important to know your enemy. She didn’t have an enemy in the world. Since the scandal he has become public enemy number one. Some dancers become their own worst enemies, criticizing themselves for every imperfection. The Church and the Communist Party were natural enemies. The cat uses its claws to protect itself against enemies. The document must not at any price fall into enemy hands. The lion is the zebra’s chief enemy. The men came under enemy fire. The skunk releases a pungent smell to deter the enemy. The spies managed to penetrate behind enemy lines. They decided to use the weapon against the enemy. They united in the face of a common enemy. Thousands of perceived enemies of the State were imprisoned. an enemy of God the first casualty from enemy action Birds are the natural enemies of many insect pests. It is rare to find a prominent politician with few political enemies. The enemy was forced to retreat. They used to be friends but now they are sworn enemies. enemy aircraft to go behind enemy linesIdioms
    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 American Dictionary entry: enemy