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n. pl. ad·ver·si·ties
1. A state of hardship or affliction; misfortune.
2. A calamitous event.


n, pl -ties
1. distress; affliction; hardship
2. an unfortunate event or incident


(ædˈvɜr sɪ ti)

n., pl. -ties for 2.
1. adverse fortune or fate; misfortune; calamity: in times of adversity.
2. an adverse event or circumstance: to cope with life's many adversities.
[1200–50; (< Anglo-French) < Latin]
syn: See misfortune.



the black ox has trod on [someone’s] foot Said of a person who has been the victim of misfortune or adversity. This proverb, in use since 1546, is rarely heard today.

blood, sweat and tears See EXERTION.

cross to bear See BURDEN.

crown of thorns Any excruciatingly painful hardship, tribulation, trial, suffering, etc.; a grievous and enduring wound. This expression refers to the crown which soldiers mockingly placed on Jesus’ head before his crucifixion.

And they platted a crown of thorns and put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand; and they kneeled down before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! (Matthew 27:29)

get one’s lumps To be harshly treated or abused; to be punished, chastised, or criticized; to be physically beaten or harassed. In this expression a lump is literally a swelling on the body caused by physical violence.

Their greatest fun is to see a cop getting his lumps. (H. Lee in Pageant, April, 1951)

This 20th-century American slang expression is frequently used to describe nonphysical abuse and punishment or unpleasant, painful experiences.

Now I take my lumps, he thought. Maybe for not satisfying Mary. (Bernard Malamud, Tenants, 1971)

lead a dog’s life To live a miserable, servile life; to lead a wretched, harassed existence. This expression, which dates from the 16th century, apparently refers to the abuses heaped on the less fortunate of man’s best friends.

She … domineers like the devil: O Lord, I lead the life of a dog. (Samuel Foote, The Mayor of Garret, 1764)

the most unkindest cut of all The cruelest of cruel treatment; the last and most painful of a series of hurts; used especially in reference to betrayal by a friend. The cut of the original expression referred to one of the rents in Julius Caesar’s mantle, specifically that made by his dearest friend Brutus. The line is from Marc Antony’s famous oration over the dead Caesar’s body.

This was the most unkindest cut of all,
For when the noble Caesar saw him stab,
Ingratitude, more strong than traitors’ arms,
Quite vanquished him. (Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, III,ii)

Today the phrase is most often found in contexts where cut means ‘slight, snub, insult,’ though the idea that the hurt involves a friend’s rejection is usually retained. Other uses play on other meanings of cut, such as deletions from a manuscript or bowdlerization of a text.

run the gauntlet To be subjected to attack from all sides; to be made to endure abusive treatment or severe criticism. Running the gauntlet was a form of military punishment in which the offender was compelled to run between two rows of men armed with whips or scourges, each of whom struck him a painful blow. The gauntlet (or gantlet) of the expression bears no relationship to gauntlet ‘mailed glove’ but is a corruption of gantlope, from the Swedish gatlopp ‘a running lane.’ The literal expression came into English during the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) and the phrase was used figuratively shortly thereafter.

To print, is to run the gantlet, and to expose ones self to the tongues strapado. (Joseph Glanvill, “Preface” The Vanity of Dogmatizing, 1661)

slings and arrows See CRITICISM.

through the mill Through much suffering, through many hardships and difficulties, through an ordeal or trial. The allusion is to the way a mill grinds whole grains of wheat into fine flour.

His hardships were never excessive; they did not affect his health or touch his spirits; probably he is in every way a better man for having … “gone through the mill.”

(G. Gissing, The Private Papers of H. Ryecroft, 1903)

Use of the expression dates from the 19th century.

through the wringer Through an emotionally or physically exhausting experience.

Workers, who have already undergone two loyalty or security investigations … must go through the wringer a third time. (Elmer Davis, as quoted in Webster’s Third)

A wringer is an apparatus for squeezing out excess water or liquid, as from clothes after washing.

ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.adversity - a state of misfortune or afflictionadversity - a state of misfortune or affliction; "debt-ridden farmers struggling with adversity"; "a life of hardship"
ill-being - lack of prosperity or happiness or health
bad luck, ill luck, tough luck, misfortune - an unfortunate state resulting from unfavorable outcomes
disaster, catastrophe - a state of extreme (usually irremediable) ruin and misfortune; "lack of funds has resulted in a catastrophe for our school system"; "his policies were a disaster"
extremity - an extreme condition or state (especially of adversity or disease)
distress - a state of adversity (danger or affliction or need); "a ship in distress"; "she was the classic maiden in distress"
affliction - a state of great suffering and distress due to adversity
victimization - adversity resulting from being made a victim; "his victimization infuriated him"
low-water mark, nadir - an extreme state of adversity; the lowest point of anything
2.adversity - a stroke of ill fortuneadversity - a stroke of ill fortune; a calamitous event; "a period marked by adversities"
misfortune, bad luck - unnecessary and unforeseen trouble resulting from an unfortunate event



شِدَّه، مِحْنَه، ضَرَّاء
mótlæti, andstreymi


[ədˈvɜːsɪtɪ] Ninfortunio m, desgracia f
in times of adversityen tiempos difíciles
he knew adversity in his youthde joven conoció la miseria
companion in adversitycompañero m de desgracias


[ədˈvɜːrsɪti] nadversité f
in adversity → dans l'adversité
in the face of adversity → face à l'adversité


no plNot f; a time of adversityeine Zeit der Not; in adversityim Unglück, in der Not
(= misfortune)Widrigkeit f (geh); the adversities of wardie Härten des Krieges


[ədˈvɜːsɪtɪ] navversità f inv


(ˈӕdvəːs) adjective
unfavourable. adverse criticism.
ˈadversely adverb
adˈversity noun
misfortune or hardship.
References in classic literature ?
If thou observe not this, be sure to find What I foretold thee--many a hard assay Of dangers, and adversities, and pains, Ere thou of Israel's sceptre get fast hold; Whereof this ominous night that closed thee round, So many terrors, voices, prodigies, May warn thee, as a sure foregoing sign.
Tobin came back and sat down, and I began to look out for him, for the man's adversities were becoming frequent.
Thou oughtest therefore to call to mind the more heavy sufferings of others, that thou mayest the easier bear thy little adversities.
With a strong 2016 class of new Members, Horatio Alger Association continues its tradition of annually recognizing esteemed leaders, across industries, who have overcome significant adversities to achieve great success
His Majesty urged all Jordanians to stand united and show the true identity of the Jordanian people in addressing adversities.
Participants completed diagnostic interviews to assess psychiatric disorder diagnosis, and assess childhood adversities, including parental loss, and childhood abuse and neglect.
Determination, resilience and persistence enable great business people to push past their adversities and prevail.
While adversities do bring challenges they are temporary and also bring opportunities along.
How do you overcome adversities, find your passion, and honor your true self?
ISLAMABAD -- A new study has found that people become more easily depressed following minor life stresses, partly because they have experienced early life adversities or prior depressive episodes.
Children in long-term foster care have experienced a range of early adversities which continue to affect their self-esteem, self-efficacy and capacity to cope with developmental challenges.