antithetical

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

For Orania, marooned in a country seen as antithetical to its values, that concept held great appeal. Gregory Barber, WIRED, "Inside an All-White Town’s Divisive Experiment With Cryptocurrency," 6 June 2019 Some in the campaign had been arguing that support for the amendment was antithetical to that goal, arguments that intensified on Wednesday and Thursday. Jonathan Martin, New York Times, "Behind Biden’s Reversal on Hyde Amendment: Lobbying, Backlash and an Ally’s Call," 7 June 2019 The very notion of an artistic career is antithetical to Rubin’s achievements unless the word is used to connote something careening out of control. J. Hoberman, The New York Review of Books, "Barbara Rubin, Shameless Angel of Avant-Garde Cinema," 21 May 2019 Something the report doesn’t say is that for certain types of journalism the quest for traffic is incompatible with, if not antithetical to, the task at hand. Christian Lorentzen, Harper's magazine, "Like This or Die," 10 Apr. 2019 While Patriarch Kirill considers Western values as antithetical to the Russian Orthodoxy, Patriarch Bartholomew supports closer ties with Western churches, including the Vatican. Michael Khodarkovsky, WSJ, "Russia Wages a Religious War Against Ukraine," 30 Sep. 2018 The Christian Century, a nondenominational magazine that for decades had been the voice of mainline Protestantism, published an article that condemned the war as antithetical to religious values. David Mislin, Smithsonian, "How Vietnam War Protests Accelerated the Rise of the Christian Right," 3 May 2018 By the 1950s, socialism was widely seen as antithetical to the American way of life. New York Times, "‘Yes, I’m Running as a Socialist.’ Why Candidates Are Embracing the Label in 2018," 20 Apr. 2018 The Chinese Communist Party has long associated Christianity with subversive Western values, which are perceived as antithetical to Xi’s push for conformity to orthodox party thinking. Time, "Guerrillas for God: How Hong Kong’s Pastors Are Delivering the Message to China’s Christians," 5 Mar. 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

8 Jul 2019

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The first known use of antithetical was in 1583

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characterized by aphorism

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