The word adverse refers to something that is opposing – it goes against what you want, and is often unfavorable, harmful or challenging.
- Heavy rain, high winds, or icy roads are adverse weather conditions (because they interfere with the operation of normal life and transportation).
- If a medicine makes the patient’s health get worse, not better, it is having an adverse effect.
- If a decision has adverse consequences or effects, it means that the results are opposite from what you wanted.
We often use the noun form, adversity, for difficult conditions. Someone who grew up in a very poor family and later became very financially successful has overcome adversity.
While the word adverse describes a situation, the word averse describes people, and it means the person is not willing to do something:
- If your parents want everything to stay the same, they are averse to change.
- Someone who doesn’t think it’s a good idea to invest money in the stock market is averse to risk.
The noun form is aversion, and it also refers to this unwillingness to do something. If you have an aversion to broccoli, it means you really don’t like broccoli and are not likely to eat it.