Adversive – Definition & Meaning

The term “adversive” is not commonly used in everyday language, but it is an important word in various fields such as psychology, medicine, and education. Adversive refers to anything that is unpleasant, aversive, or repulsive. In this article, we will explore the definition and meaning of adversive, its origin, synonyms, antonyms, and associations.


According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, adversive means “tending to deter or discourage.” It can also refer to something that is repulsive or aversive, such as a smell or taste.
In psychology, adversive refers to a stimulus that causes discomfort or pain, such as an electric shock or loud noise. Adversive conditioning is a technique used to reduce unwanted behavior by associating it with an unpleasant stimulus.
In medicine, an adversive reaction is a negative response to a medication or treatment, such as an allergic reaction or side effect.


The word “adversive” comes from the Latin word “adversus,” which means “turned against.” It first appeared in English in the mid-17th century.

Meaning in different dictionaries

In the Oxford English Dictionary, adversive is defined as “averse, repugnant, or hostile.” In the Cambridge Dictionary, it is defined as “causing dislike or opposition.” The Collins Dictionary defines it as “having a tendency to discourage or repel.”


Adversive is often associated with negative experiences, such as pain, discomfort, and aversion. It can also be associated with punishment, deterrence, and avoidance.
In education, adversive techniques are sometimes used to discourage unwanted behavior, such as using a loud noise to stop a student from talking out of turn.
In marketing, adversive advertising is a technique that uses negative messages or imagery to discourage consumers from using a competitor’s product.


Some synonyms of adversive include aversive, repulsive, unpleasant, disagreeable, and deterrent.


Antonyms of adversive include attractive, appealing, pleasant, and desirable.

The same root words

The root word of adversive is “adverse,” which means unfavorable or hostile. Other words with the same root include adversity, adversary, and advertise.

Example Sentences

  1. The adversive conditioning technique was effective in reducing the patient’s anxiety.
  2. The medication caused an adversive reaction in some patients.
  3. The smell was so adversive that I had to leave the room.
  4. The adversive advertising campaign was criticized for being too negative.
  5. The teacher used an adversive technique to stop the student from misbehaving.
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