If you'd like to know more about antonyms, the different types, and how to use them, you've come to the right place. This article will teach you everything you need to know.
The word 'antonym' comes from the Greek words anti, meaning 'opposite,' and onym meaning 'name.' Indeed, two words that are antonyms are said to be opposite in meaning. The opposite word is 'synonym,' which refers to two words with the same meaning.
They can be any part of speech, whether that be a noun, adjective, verb, and so on.
Here are some examples:
Antonyms are helpful for so many reasons, not least because they give your writing more depth and quality. They also allow you to display a rich vocabulary by avoiding repetition and are very handy for describing and making comparisons.
They are also great for antithesis, a literary device where you lay out opposing ideas next to each other to create a startling contrast.
A famous antithesis example:
Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.
There are four major types of antonyms, each with a specific degree of 'opposite.' Let's learn about these four types.
Auto-antonyms are words that have two meanings that oppose each other. Basically, they're their own opposites. Sound confusing? Yeah, it is a little. So how are you supposed to know the difference? You'll have to deduct the meaning based on the context.
Look at the two following sentences for example:
The train has already left.
We only have small sizes left.
In the first sentence, the word 'left' means 'departed'; in the second, it means 'remaining.' So 'left' is an example of an auto-antonym.
Here are some others:
Complementary antonyms (also known as binary or contradictory) are direct opposites of each other in the sense that you can be one or the other, but you can never be both.
Relational antonyms (also known as converse) are also related words but, contrary to complementary words, have a symbiotic relationship. One can't exist without the other. Here are some examples of this type:
Graded antonyms show words on opposite ends of the spectrum
Prefixes are commonly found in antonyms because many antonyms are created by adding a prefix to the word it opposes. These are known as negative prefixes.
Here are some common ones:
That concludes this article on antonyms. I hope you found it helpful.
Let's summarize what we've learned:
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