Been interested in cyanoacrylates and their applications to wound closures and ran across this new usage for "oppose", "opposed", and "opposition". Researching further such as looking for wound medical glossary, papers and articles for wound closures, NONE go into defining the term and only uses the term in regular medical speak assuming the reader knows the usage which is understandable. Even dictionaries don't go into the medical usage for "oppose" which was odd considering its widespread among medical sources.

Can anyone shed some light on what it means to "oppose the edges of an open wound" like in the following article's excerpt?

"With this technique, the wound edges are opposed and held in place by the application of Steri-Strips" See https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20880653/.

  • Although this is related to medical use of the term, I believe this may be better suited to English Language Usage. Commented Jan 11, 2022 at 7:06
  • For a related question see english.stackexchange.com/q/14427/211388 Commented Jan 11, 2022 at 7:11
  • I never would have thought "oppose" would be synonymous to flush but when reading your answer that really helps line it up so to speak.
    – LeanMan
    Commented Jan 11, 2022 at 18:06
  • 1
    @LeanMan I think you meant to comment a bit further down on my answer. I would have said "flush" means completely aligned, which is usually not necessary (or even attainable, given that these are pliable tissues) for wound treatment. In this context opposed would mean "lined up and held together as closely as possible without pinching"
    – bob1
    Commented Jan 11, 2022 at 19:58

1 Answer 1


From the context it seems the answer is the edges lined up opposite and against each other, as the transitive verb form of the word opposite a la the second definition here:

transitive verb

  1. to place over against something so as to provide resistance,
  2. to place opposite or against something
  3. to offer resistance to

For opposite:

1: located at the other end, side, or corner of something: located across from something.
The two boys lived on opposite sides of the street.
The opposite bank of the river.

  • 1
    In this case, I think an important additional part of the definition is that the wound edges are placed in contact with each other (the "against something" part of the oppose definition in your answer). The goal after all is to close the wound. You implied this in one of your other comments here.
    – Armand
    Commented Jan 11, 2022 at 22:22

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