Rival vs Enemy: Difference and Comparison

Words connoting somewhat similar meanings can be confusing to differentiate. Rival and enemy is one such pair of words. Although the two words may seem similar, they have considerable differences between the two.

Key Takeaways

  1. A rival poses a competitive challenge in various aspects of life, such as career, sports, or academics, while an enemy holds personal hatred and hostility.
  2. Rivalry can foster personal growth and improvement by driving individuals to outperform each other, whereas enmity leads to negative emotions and potential harm.
  3. Rivals can maintain respect and understanding for one another, despite their competition, while enemies have no mutual respect or goodwill.

Rival vs Enemy 

A rival is someone who competes with another person or group for the same objective or goal. An enemy is someone who is actively opposed to another person or group and seeks to harm or destroy them. The relationship between enemies is hostile and adversarial, unlike rivals which are competitive.

Rival vs Enemy
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Rival refers to an individual competing with another individual. In other words, any person can be a rival of another person. Rivalries exist in many kinds of relationships.

Competing between business firms is also a prominent kind of rivalry. In addition, the word rival’s past tense and past participle are rivalled. 

Enemy refers to an individual who behaves in an actively hostile manner to another individual. In its practical application, the word enemy connotes nations that conflict with one another.

An individual may have a strong urge to harm or inflict psychological pain towards his enemy. In addition, the word enemy may have a use to refer to disease of any kind. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonRivalEnemy 
MeaningRival refers to an individual competing with another individual.Enemy refers to an individual who behaves in an actively hostile manner with another individual. 
Origin of the WordThe word rival originates from the Latin word rivalis originally meaning a person using the same stream as another.The word enemy originates from the Latin word inimicus which means not a friend
FeelingRivals foster competition.Enemies foster hatred. 
SynonymsThe synonyms of rival are opponents, competitor, foe, nemesis, challenger, contender, contestant, antagonist, and corival.The synonyms of the word enemy are the opposition, adversary, bandit, and combatant. 
Antonyms The antonyms of the word rival are partner and ally.The antonyms of the word enemy are friend and ally.

What is a Rival?

According to the Oxford Dictionary, a rival is an individual competing with another. In other words, any person can be a rival of another person.

Moreover, rivals don’t emit a sense of hostility. Instead, the atmosphere between rivals is that of competition. For instance, the rivalry between siblings is the most common form of rivalry. 

Rivalries exist in many kinds of relationships. Competing between business firms is also a prominent kind of rivalry. Such rivalries result in a benefit for the consumers. In addition, the word rival’s past tense and past participle are rivalled. 

The word rival originates from the Latin word rivalis, originally meaning a person using the same stream as another. The word rival came into popular use from the 16th century onwards.

The synonyms of a rival are opponents, competitor, enemy, foe, nemesis, challenger, contender, contestant, antagonist, and corival.

The antonyms of the word rival our partner and ally. Another prominent instance of rivalry is in the case of sports wherein different teams compete against each other.

Such a rivalry is beneficial to the performance of players and, thus, promotes healthy competition. Thus, rivalry has a positive connotation. 

rival

What is an Enemy?

According to the Oxford Dictionary, an enemy refers to an individual who behaves in an actively hostile manner with another individual.

Thus, enemies foster a relationship of strong hatred towards one another. There is a clear absence of logic or reason in the case of an enemy relationship. As a result, it leads to pessimistic behaviour. 

A prominent instance of enemies is the United States of America and Russia during the Cold War, the Allied nations and the Axis Nations during the Second World War.

Other examples include the relationship between Iran and Iraq, India and Pakistan, and Israel and Iran. The word enemy originates from the Latin word inimicus which means not a friend. 

The synonyms of the word enemy are the opposition, adversary, bandit, and combatant. The antonyms of the words enemy our friend and ally.

In its practical application, the word enemy connotes nations that conflict with one another. An individual may have a strong urge to harm or inflict psychological pain towards his enemy. 

When an individual is characterised as an enemy, the process is known as demonization. In addition, the word enemy may have a use to refer to disease of any kind.

When an individual characterizes another person as his enemy, it is likely to cause either physical or mental harm to both parties. Thus, the word enemy connotes various meanings.

enemy

Main Differences Between Rival and Enemy 

  1. Rival refers to an individual competing with another individual. In contrast, an enemy refers to an individual who behaves in an actively hostile manner to another individual. 
  2. The word rival originates from the Latin word rivalis, originally meaning a person using the same stream as another. On the other hand, the word enemy originates from the Latin word inimicus which means not a friend. 
  3. Rivals foster competition. In contrast, enemies foster hatred. 
  4. The synonyms of a rival are opponents, competitor, foe, nemesis, challenger, contender, contestant, antagonist, and corival. On the other hand, the synonyms of the word enemy are the opposition, adversary, bandit, and combatant. 
  5. The antonyms of the word rival our partner and ally. In contrast, the antonyms of the word enemy are friend and ally.
Difference Between Rival and Enemy
References
  1. https://wikidiff.com/enemy/rival 
  2. https://answerstoall.com/miscellaneous/is-rival-and-enemy-the-same/ 

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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