November 09, 2011
averse (adjective)
\uh-VERSS\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: having an active and strong dislike
How do you use it?
"Miss Carew, averse to the anomalous relations of courtship," (George Bernard Shaw, Cashel Byron's Profession)
Are you a word wiz?

Whoops! We forgot to finish our example sentence! In the sentence quoted, the author tells us that Miss Carew is averse to the peculiarities of courting. Knowing this, which answer do you think is the correct end of the quotation?

When you are "averse" to something, you strongly dislike it. Since Miss Carew is averse to courtship, it makes sense that she would quickly marry in order to end it, but not that she would make it last longer, encourage more, or want to remember it. A word similar to "averse" is "adverse." "Averse to" and "adverse to" can mean the same thing when the object of the dislike is a person, though "adverse to" is more often used with a thing. And though "adverse" is often used as a modifier before a noun ("an adverse reaction," for example), "averse" is rarely used in that construction.
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