Definition of Antonyms
Antonyms can be defined as
A word opposite in meaning to another is known as Antonym
It means that a Antonym is a word which means opposite of another word. For instance, the antonym of ‘good’ may be ‘bad.’ The root words for the word ‘antonym’ are the words ‘anti,’ meaning ‘against’ or ‘opposite,’ and ‘onym,’ meaning ‘name.’ In order to better understand antonyms, let’s take a look at what the word ‘synonym’ means. A synonym is a word that has a similar meaning to or exactly the same meaning as another word. Synonyms and antonyms are exactly the opposite.
Often words will have more than one antonym but as with synonyms it depends on the context. For instance, the word warm could have the antonym cool or chilly. In order to choose the correct antonym, you have to look at all the meanings and how the word is used. Cool can mean stylish as well as chilly so the word cool may not be the best choice.
Categories of Antonyms
There are three categories of antonyms:
- Graded antonyms – deal with levels of the meaning of the words, like if something is not “good”, is may still not be “bad.” There is a scale involved with some words, and besides good and bad there can be average, fair, excellent, terrible, poor, or satisfactory.
Word Antonym fat skinny first last safe dangerous sane crazy wet dry
- Complementary antonyms – have a relationship where there is no middle ground. There are only two possibilities, either one or the other.
Word Antonym man woman day night input output occupied vacant question answer
- Relational antonyms – are sometimes considered a subcategory of complementary antonyms. With these pairs, for there to be a relationship, both must exist.
Word Antonym husband wife master servant brother sister floor ceiling trap release
When using antonyms always keep in mind the context of the word and then choose the best word that means the opposite. As with synonyms, showing variations in meaning through the use of the correct antonyms will add spark and interest to your writing. If you haven’t already, get to know your Thesaurus