Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

antithetical

play
adjective an·ti·thet·i·cal \ˌan-tə-ˈthe-ti-kəl\

Simple Definition of antithetical

  • : directly opposite or opposed

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of antithetical

  1. 1 :  constituting or marked by antithesis

  2. 2 :  being in direct and unequivocal opposition

antithetically

play \-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

Examples of antithetical in a sentence

  1. the antithetical forces of good and evil

  2. <spiritual concerns and ideals that are antithetical to the materialism embraced by modern society>



Did You Know?

Antithetical and "antithesis" entered English in the 16th century. Their etymological paths pass through Late Latin and ultimately lead to Greek (the Greek words antitithenai and "antithesis" mean "to oppose" and "opposition," respectively). The oldest sense of the English "antithesis" refers to a language pattern that contrasts parallel ideas, as in "action, not words" or "they promised freedom and provided slavery." "Antithetical" can mean "constituting or marked by such language patterns." For example, you could say "The phrase 'action, not words' is an antithetical construction." It is more common in current use, however, for "antithesis" to mean "the exact opposite" and for "antithetical" to mean "directly opposite."

1583

First Known Use of antithetical

1583

Variants of antithetical

also

antithetic

play \-ˈthe-tik\

Synonym Discussion of antithetical

opposite, contradictory, contrary, antithetical mean being so far apart as to be or seem irreconcilable. opposite applies to things in sharp contrast or in conflict <opposite views on foreign aid>. contradictory applies to two things that completely negate each other so that if one is true or valid the other must be untrue or invalid <made contradictory predictions about whether the market would rise or fall>. contrary implies extreme divergence or diametrical opposition <contrary assessments of the war situation>. antithetical stresses clear and unequivocal diametrical opposition <a law that is antithetical to the very idea of democracy>.


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up antithetical? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a secret group of plotters

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

dog-eating-apple

Which is a synonym of asperse?

defame divulge placate beat
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ