an·​ti·​thet·​i·​cal | \ ˌan-tə-ˈthe-ti-kəl How to pronounce antithetical (audio) \
variants: or less commonly antithetic \ ˌan-​tə-​ˈthe-​tik How to pronounce antithetical (audio) \

Definition of antithetical

1 : being in direct and unequivocal opposition : directly opposite or opposed … some see the idea of a museum for rock & roll as antithetical to the music's rebellious ethic …— Al Weisel
2 : constituting or marked by antithesis antithetical conflict

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Other Words from antithetical

antithetically \ ˌan-​tə-​ˈthe-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce antithetical (audio) \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

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."

Examples of antithetical in a Sentence

the antithetical forces of good and evil spiritual concerns and ideals that are antithetical to the materialism embraced by modern society
Recent Examples on the Web What’s more antithetical to Captain America than a Flag Smasher? Brian Tallerico, Vulture, "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier," 19 Mar. 2021 The Facebook group posts antithetical content about members of the Republican Party. Chelsey Cox, USA TODAY, "Fact check: Sen. Ted Cruz's 2018 senatorial campaign mailers complied with FEC standards," 11 Mar. 2021 But this is pretty antithetical to the principles behind the rapid adoption of cryptocurrencies. Rob Day, Forbes, "Bitcoin Could Be A Climate Disaster, But It Doesn’t Have To Be One," 10 Mar. 2021 Collectivism in any guise, including its postmodern progressivist variety, has been historically antithetical to a free society. Andrew A. Michta, National Review, "The Fracturing of the American Ideal," 7 Feb. 2021 Paying providers based on patients’ time using the app, or even their own time in the app, is antithetical to effective mental health care. Payal Marathe, STAT, "The mental health dilemma: If technology is the problem, can it also be the solution?," 8 Dec. 2020 While antithetical to the popular image of the founding father, that reference has reinforced the view held by a growing cadre of historians that Hamilton did actively engage in enslaving people. David Kindy, Smithsonian Magazine, "New Research Suggests Alexander Hamilton Was a Slave Owner," 10 Nov. 2020 An unbiased free press is essential in a democracy, but the censorship of conservative perspectives in today’s cancel culture is antithetical to freedom. Ron Johnson, WSJ, "I Won’t Be Silenced by the Left," 15 Mar. 2021 Spending hours examining an unmasked patient in intimate physical proximity is antithetical to most COVID-19-era interactions, but still being asked of many medical students. Yoshiko Iwai, Scientific American, "All Medical Students Should Be Vaccinated," 9 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'antithetical.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of antithetical

1583, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for antithetical

see antithesis

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Time Traveler for antithetical

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The first known use of antithetical was in 1583

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Last Updated

12 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Antithetical.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Apr. 2021.

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