Meaning | Definition
The opposite word expresses the opposite or inverse meaning of another word, making both of them antonyms to each other.
Whether English is the reader’s native language or not, this page helps to understand the meaning of both the opposite words and helps the reader enhance their vocabulary and knowledge of spellings. Similar (synonyms) and opposite (antonyms) words are helpful to know as they improve reading and writing skills. They allow students to understand the text at a deeper, richer level. Students learn to differentiate between shades of meaning by learning opposite words that enable them to be more precise and enhancing their overall command of English. Next on this page, you will find a list of more than 100 most common, basic, and top opposite English words.
|Bright||Dark / Dull|
|Little||Big / Large|
History and Origin of Opposite Words
When thinking of opposite words in the English language, the term “antonym” comes to mind. The English language uses antonyms with ONLY nouns and adjectives. Nouns describe a person, a place, or a thing. Alternatively, adjectives can modify a person, place, thing (noun) or pronoun. Using antonyms (opposites) help to provide insights into nouns as part of the general language. Synonyms (same) are the opposite of Antonyms but have a role in the English language. Moreover, the word, antonym, ant (anti), and onym (name) have Greek roots.
However, we should not confuse Antonyms with opposite words. An incompatible binary relationship is one phrase that comes to mind when discussing opposites and their usage in the English language. Indeed, William Shakespeare used opposites to describe characters in his famous works. Some of these opposites pitted humans against animals in written form and infused opposite hues of colour to bring out the differences amongst living creatures or moods in Shakespeare’s world. Even books of the bible like Ecclesiastes had used opposites to illustrate how opposed things can be when scribes were writing parables. While opposites, also known to the Greeks as an “antithesis,” are just as important in many regards as antonyms, synonyms have been noted to have been used for about five centuries before antonyms became a recent lexicographical phenomenon. Furthermore, antonyms have been used since the 1860s. Indeed, author Ven. C.J. Smith used the term antonym in his work, “Synonyms and Antonyms,” published in 1867.