noun, plural en·e·mies.
- a person who feels hatred for, fosters harmful designs against, or engages in antagonistic activities against another; an adversary or opponent.
- an armed foe; an opposing military force: The army attacked the enemy at dawn.
- a hostile nation or state.
- a citizen of such a state.
- enemies, persons, nations, etc., that are hostile to one another: Let’s make up and stop being enemies.
- something harmful or prejudicial: His unbridled ambition is his worst enemy.
- the Enemy, the Devil; Satan.
- belonging to a hostile power or to any of its nationals: enemy property.
- Obsolete. inimical; ill-disposed.
noun plural -mies
- a person hostile or opposed to a policy, cause, person, or group, esp one who actively tries to do damage; opponent
- an armed adversary; opposing military force
- (as modifier)enemy aircraft
- a hostile nation or people
- (as modifier)an enemy alien
- something that harms or opposes; adversarycourage is the enemy of failure
early 13c., from Old French enemi (12c.), earlier inimi (9c.) “enemy, adversary, foe, demon, the Devil,” from Latin inimicus “hostile, unfriendly; an enemy” (source of Italian nemico, Catalan enamic, Spanish enemigo, Portuguese inimigo), from in- “not” (see in- (1)) + amicus “friend” related to amare “to love” (see Amy).
Most words for “personal enemy” cover also “enemy in war,” but certain languages have special terms for the latter, e.g. Greek polemioi (distinct from ekhthroi), Latin hostis, originally “stranger” (distinct from inimicus), Russian neprijatel’ (distinct from vrag).
Russian vrag (Old Church Slavonic vragu) is cognate with Lithuanian vargas “misery” (see urge), and probably is related to Proto-Germanic *wargoz, source of Old Norse vargr “outlaw,” hence “wolf;” Icelandic vargur “fox,” Old English wearg “criminal, felon;” which likely were the inspirations for J.R.R. Tolkien’s warg “a kind of large ferocious wolf” in “The Hobbit” (1937) and “Lord of the Rings.” Related: Enemies.