All aerobically growing organisms suffer exposure to oxidative stress, caused by partially reduced forms of molecular oxygen, known as reactive oxygen species (ROS). These are highly reactive and capable of damaging cellular constituents such as DNA, lipids and proteins. Consequently, cells from many different organisms have evolved mechanisms to protect their components against ROS. This review concentrates on the oxidant defence systems of the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which appears to have a number of inducible adaptive stress responses to oxidants, such as H2O2, superoxide anion and lipid peroxidation products. The oxidative stress responses appear to be regulated, at least in part, at the level of transcription and there is considerable overlap between them and many diverse stress responses, allowing the yeast cell to integrate its response towards environmental stress.