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antagonism

antagonism
1. The interaction of two substances (e.g. drugs, hormones, or enzymes) having opposing effects in a system in such a way that the action of one partially or completely inhibits the effects of the other. For example, one group of anti-cancer drugs acts by antagonizing the effects of certain enzymes controlling the activities of the cancer cells. See also antagonist.

2. An interaction between two muscles, known as antagonistic muscles, in which contraction of one prevents that of the other. For example, the biceps and triceps are an antagonistic pair. See voluntary muscle.

3. An interaction between two organisms (e.g. moulds or bacteria) in which the growth of one is inhibited by the other. Compare synergism.

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antagonize

an·tag·o·nize / anˈtagəˌnīz/ • v. [tr.] cause (someone) to become hostile: he antagonized many colleagues during the budget wars. ∎  Biochem. (of a substance) act as an antagonist of (a substance or its action): two other drugs antagonized the antidepressantlike effect.

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antagonism

an·tag·o·nism / anˈtagəˌnizəm/ • n. active hostility or opposition: the antagonism between them. ∎ Biochem. inhibition of or interference with the action of one substance or organism by another.

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