Antonyms: definition and examples (2023)

An antonym is a word that means the opposite of another word. For example,hotyI callare also antonymsintestineyMal. Antonyms can be all kinds of words:verbs,Substantive,adjectives,adverbs, it's includedprepositions.

Knowing how to use antonyms can improve your workWriteand knowledge of English, but some details need to be explained. Then we answer the question: What are antonyms? We go into detail, explaining the different types and when to use them.

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What is an antonym?

Antonyms are words with opposite meanings. For example, an antonym ofLabelesNight, and an antonym ofeesthe end.The endAntonymcomes fromAntonym, which is the grammatical term for words with conflicting meanings, but you can think of antonyms asopposites.

Synonyms and antonyms

Antonyms are closely related toSynonym, which are words that have identical meanings. While antonyms have opposite meanings, synonyms have the same meaning.

Let's see the sample wordgrande. the antonym ofgrandeesklein. To mean ygrandeykleinthey are opposites; the synonym ofgrandeesgrandeygrandeygrandemeans the same.


Antonym: kleinSynonym: grande

Don't think about it, think about the wordsSynonymyAntonymthey are actually antonyms!

synonyms or autotonyms

ANagainst word, also known asauto antonym, is a special kind of antonyms. Synonyms are words that have multiple meanings, and some of those meanings are antonyms of one another. Technically, synonyms are antonyms that are alsoHomophone, which are words that sound the same but have different meanings. Synonyms can fit any of the following types of antonyms.

One of the most common examples of Kontrony isStaub. as a verb,Staubcould mean:

  • Remove dust (such as cleaning)
  • Sprinkle with powder (like sprinkling sugar on food)

essentially the wordStaubmeans "add dust" and "remove dust". This contrast in definitions makes it a cononym. See our article on for more examples.verb cononyms.

What is the purpose of antonyms?

Antonyms play an important role in writing, making your words more effective. Putting opposites together highlights their differences and makes each word stronger. In particular, you can use the power of opposites in three ways.


Antonyms are great for comparing two different things and drawing attention to their differences. when you write ainvestigation workWhen comparing two topics, using pairs of antonyms can better communicate what makes them different from each other.

For example, let's say you're talking about living in urban areas versus living in rural areas. Rather than just listing facts about each, you can use pairs of antonyms to communicate the differences more clearly. Thus, one can describe rural life as 'quiet' and urban life as 'noisy', or say that there are 'few' people in the countryside and 'many' people in urban areas.


Sometimes the best way to describe something is to explain what it is not. Using antonyms with a negative can add new dimensions to your descriptions and improve your writing.choice of words.

For example, you might describe someone arrogant as "not humble" or "not humble". whymodestoymodestoare antonyms ofarrogantyou mean the same thing. However, the use of the antonyms draws attention to the fact that the person is choosing not to be modest or humble, adding a bit more characterization than just calling them "arrogant".

Remember that positive descriptions are usually better than negative ones; therefore, antonyms are not always recommended for descriptions. Still, they work well if you play around with reader expectations. For example, mistakes are usually small, so when you mention a "big mistake" the contrast makes the sentence stronger.

That way, antonyms can add value to yours.persuasive writingstrengthening your descriptive words and challenging your readers' expectations.


the antithesis is aliterary devicewho uses the power of opposites directly, placing them next to each other or next to each other. As mentioned above, antonyms draw attention to what makes things different and make each word sound stronger. Antithesis takes this to the next level by joining antonyms. Always look for ways to use the antithesis whenreviewYour writing.

One of the most famous examples of antithesis is Neil Armstrong's real-life quote about the moon landing:

That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.

There are two different pairs of antonyms here:kleinygigante, youStepyof molas. By condensing the opposing concepts of "small step" and "big leap" into one sentence, your statement makes each one seem more meaningful. If Neil's first words on the moon were "I took a small step" and nothing else, your date wouldn't be so popular!

types of antonyms

When we say antonyms are opposites, that's a bit general. There are different types of opposites and therefore different types of antonyms.

complementary antonyms

Also known asbinary antonymsocontradictory antonymsComplementary antonyms are word pairs where the positive use of one means the negative use of the other. In other words, they have an either/or relationship: something can be one or the other, but never both at the same time.

Examples of complementary antonyms:


the endTRUTH falseVivaUntil

qualified antonyms

Also known aspolar antonyms,qualified antonymsthey are opposite quantities of the same quality. For example,longeyneighborhoodThey are qualifying antonyms because they represent opposite distances. However, these qualities are relative: the mall may be far from home, but it's close to home compared to the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Examples of qualifying antonyms:


alternativehot I calllanguage Kurz

relational antonyms

Also known asreverse antonyms,relational antonymsPlaying opposite roles in a mutual relationship. For example,LehreryStudentthey are relational antonyms: neither can exist without the other, and yet their roles are very different.

Examples of relational antonyms:


selllinks On the rightpadreKind

antonyms and prefixes

Antonyms are often used in English.prefixes, small syllables of about one to three letters that are added to the beginning of words to change their meaning. There are some prefixes that invert the meaning of a word, turning it into its opposite, perfect for antonyms!

Be careful when using prefixes: not every word can have a prefix, so you can't just add it anywhere. You just need to familiarize yourself with common English words with prefixes until you memorize the correct terms. pay attention toospelling, spelling, as a letter is sometimes doubled to aid in pronunciation.

Here are some common prefixes used with pairs of antonyms, along with their examples. Each of these prefixes essentially changes the meaning of a word to its opposite.

dis-ehrlichdishonestto appearto vanishaccordinglyhave different opinions


en-, im-possibleimpossiblerespectableindecentdiscreetindiscreet

Not-believersunfaithfultracksnon binarylinearnot linear

incorrectLeadfraudconductbehave badlyI canazar


y-importantnot importantnecessarynot necessaryprobablyunlikely

Frequently asked questions about antonyms

What are antonyms?

Antonyms are words with opposite meanings, such ashotyI call,intestineyMal, youfelizySad.

When should antonyms be used?

Antonyms are best used in comparisons to draw attention to what separates two opposite things. By showing these differences, antonym pairs can better communicate what makes them different.

What are the different types of antonyms?

Complementary antonyms such aseythe end, cannot both be true at the same time. Qualifying antonyms show opposite quantities of equal quality, such asgrandeyklein, describing different sizes. Relational antonyms indicate opposing roles in the same relationship, such asLehreryStudent.

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