work against (someone or something)
1. To act, function, or perform in a contrary or adverse manner to someone or something. Your perfectionism works against you sometimes—you need to learn to move on from a project, even if you think it could forever be improved. The legislation they are proposing would actively work against the progress we've made in regulating the financial industry in recent years.
2. To work effectively toward countering or defeating someone or something. It may have worked against their opponents in the last presidential election, but their smear-campaign tactic is not producing much traction for them this time around. I heard that pepper spray works well against bears, so I always carry some with me when I go camping in the mountains.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
work against someone or something
1. [for someone] to struggle against someone or something. She worked hard against the passage of the law. Dave worked against Betty.
2. . [for something] to militate against someone or something. This sort of works against your plan, does it not? Everything you said works against your client.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. To move or act contrary to something or someone: The new ideas work against the way we do things now.
2. To move or act in opposition or resistance to someone or something: Your meticulous attention to detail sometimes works against you.
3. To be successful at countering something or someone: The soccer team must find a strategy that works against the opponent's defense.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.