antithetical

adjective
an·​ti·​thet·​i·​cal | \ˌan-tə-ˈthe-ti-kəl \
variants: or less commonly antithetic \-​ˈthe-​tik \

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 \-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē \ 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

Certainly there’s some of that happening in CNN’s suit, and the White House’s relentlessly dishonesty about this sequence of events (and, indeed, its relentless dishonesty about everything) is antithetical to those best traditions of our country. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Jim Acosta vs. the Trump White House, explained," 14 Nov. 2018 The major music critics of the 1970s and 1980s were skeptical about Queen, dismissing the band as bombastic and haughty, antithetical to rock’s earthy working-class roots. Noel Murray, The Verge, "For the real Bohemian Rhapsody, stream the best recorded Queen concert this weekend," 2 Nov. 2018 Photo: John Weast/Getty Images That attitude was antithetical in many ways to everything NFL traditionalists believed. Jonathan Clegg, WSJ, "When Baker Mayfield and Patrick Mahomes Played in College, the NFL Saw Its Future," 1 Nov. 2018 The debilitating after-effects of trauma are antithetical to the American idea that people can pull themselves up by their bootstraps, Henry said. John Schmid, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Trauma reaches beyond urban centers like Milwaukee, speaker says. Just look at border fiasco.," 20 June 2018 Some teams have legitimately refused to pursue Cousins under any circumstances, believing his personality to be antithetical to winning basketball. Rob Mahoney, SI.com, "Facing a Harsh Free-Agency Reality, DeMarcus Cousins Embraces the Absurd," 3 July 2018 But the centers said the law violates their constitutional rights by forcing them to deliver a message that is antithetical to their mission of encouraging women to carry on their pregnancies rather than end them. Robert Barnes, Anchorage Daily News, "Supreme Court says crisis pregnancy centers do not have to provide women abortion information," 26 June 2018 The callous unilateral policy toward people such as Diana and Luis is not only reprehensible but also antithetical to our nation’s values. Allison Bond, STAT, "We can’t ignore the scars of those seeking asylum for domestic abuse and gang violence," 29 June 2018 This seems completely antithetical to our public stances. Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY, "Microsoft, under fire for ICE deal, says it's 'dismayed' by family separations at border," 18 June 2018

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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Last Updated

9 Dec 2018

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The first known use of antithetical was in 1583

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