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From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
Related topics: Sport
opponentop‧po‧nent /əˈpəʊnənt $ əˈpoʊ-/ ●●● W3 noun [countable]  1 DSAGAINST somebody IN A GAMEsomeone who you try to defeat in a competition, game, fight, or argument Graf’s opponent in today’s final will be Sukova.leading/main/chief opponent During the primary elections, McCain was Bush’s leading opponent.formidable/worthy opponent In debate he was a formidable opponent. He is admired even by his political opponents.2 AGAINST/OPPOSEsomeone who disagrees with a plan, idea, or system and wants to try to stop or change it opp proponentopponent of Rodgers was not an opponent of the new airport.bitter/vocal/outspoken opponent an outspoken opponent of gun controlCOLLOCATIONSMeaning 1: someone who you try to defeat in a competition, game, fight, or argumentadjectivessomebody's main/chief opponentWho was her main opponent for the presidential nomination?a leading opponent (=one of the main opponents)In July the authorities arrested two leading opponents of the government.a strong/tough opponent (=one that is difficult to defeat)Arizona is a strong opponent, but the Oregon team intend to beat them.a formidable opponent (=a very strong opponent)In debate, he was a formidable opponent.a dangerous opponent (=one who might defeat you)In tomorrow's match, he will take on his most dangerous opponent.a political opponentthe president's political opponentsa worthy opponent (=one who deserves respect)The Democratic Senator has shown himself to be a worthy opponent.verbsface an opponentThe team were facing their final opponent of the season.defeat an opponentShe came within three points of defeating her opponent.outfox/outwit/outmanoeuvre an opponent (=gain an advantage over an opponent by being more intelligent or skilful than they are)Football is all about outwitting your opponents.
COLLOCATIONSMeaning 2: someone who disagrees with a plan, idea, or system and wants to try to stop or change itadjectivesthe main/chief opponentone of the new law's main opponentsa leading opponent (=one of the main opponents, often influencing other people)She was a leading opponent of gun control in the Senate.a strong opponent (=one who feels strongly that a particular thing is wrong and tries to stop it)Brennan was a strong opponent of the death penalty.a fierce/bitter opponent (=a very strong opponent, who often expresses their opinions angrily)She became well-known as a bitter opponent of slavery.a vigorous opponent (=one who opposes something with a lot of energy and determination) a vigorous opponent of the use of nuclear weaponsan outspoken/vocal opponent (=one who publicly expresses disagreement with something)He was a vocal opponent of closer relations with the United States.a vociferous opponent (=one who publicly expresses very strong disagreement)Many residents were vociferous opponents of the plan.
Examples from the Corpus
opponentLike their rivals, they expect no gifts, no walkovers against an opponent who has lost heart and given up.In some countries, any opponent of the government is likely to lose their job.Brownlee regards Reaney as his most difficult opponent.Manchester United will prove a formidable opponent this season.He is also expected to have complete trust in his opponent in spite of all indications to the contrary.His opponent will be lucky to get seventy thousand Republicans interested enough to cast a primary vote.His opponents dismiss his rise in the polls as a mere matter of money.Carson is Seymour's main opponent for the Republican Senate nomination.My opponent was much older than I was.My opponent was the same age and height as myself.One notable opponent of the proposal was the mayor.Karpov defeated his 24-year-old opponent in 57 moves.There has been no discussion of Denver, the Raiders' opponent on Oct. 19.Highbrow publishers and small bookshops are the most resolute opponents.political opponentsThis get-together was unusual for its agenda: tactics for eliminating political opponents.Lanier, a Democrat, argues that he was set up for conviction by his political opponents.Three hours into his term, a group of political opponents arrived, declared the city in chaos and demanded Gonzalez resign.It seems that new recruits were likely to have been the spies of political opponents or officers of the Special Branch.None of us reckoned on the combined firepower of the national spotlight, powerful political opponents and, yes, our shortcomings.They may be suspected political opponents.Many councils are controlled by their political opponents, even in areas where Conservatives hold parliamentary seats with quite large majorities.President Banda's one-party government has a ruthless record, especially when dealing with political opponents.bitter/vocal/outspoken opponentSwitchboard became a vocal opponent of the tactics, providing material for parliamentary and media attacks upon the practices.Fife Symington has been a vocal opponent of a Proposition 187 movement in Arizona.Davis has earned a reputation as an outspoken opponent of any kind of nuclear waste dumping at sea.Mrs Chavez is an outspoken opponent of both ideas.Many are vocal opponents of liberalised international markets in general.The law was sent for approval to Governor George Deukmejian, a former outspoken opponent of gun control.Even his most bitter opponents are keeping their heads down.Has Visa International -- one of the most vocal opponents of so-called ambush marketing -- ended up ambushing itself?
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