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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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 In wary opposition to the construction are the nomadic Tuareg people, who believe that permanent habitations are antithetical to the spirit of the region and, being Muslim, consider the settlers’ worship of gold to be a form of fetishism. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction: Heaven Is Not at All What You Think," 25 Jan. 2019 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

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.

See More

First Known Use of antithetical

1583, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for antithetical

see antithesis

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about antithetical

Listen to Our Podcast about antithetical

Statistics for antithetical

Last Updated

29 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for antithetical

The first known use of antithetical was in 1583

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on antithetical

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 strong desire or propensity

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!