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 Unfortunately, for far too long, my father’s advice was seen by many as antithetical to success. Los Angeles Times, "Column: Hollywood loves making excuses for bullies. Here are some of the most damaging," 12 Apr. 2021 But since Weeksville is a monument to Black home-ownership, some saw the transfer of those leases to the city as antithetical to its mission. New York Times, "How Weeksville, a Center of Black History, Fought to Survive," 6 Apr. 2021 In fact, New England’s Separatists and Puritans would have seen the United States that late 18th-century colonists created well over a century later as antithetical to their ideal society. Kathleen Duval, WSJ, "‘Terror to the Wicked’ Review: Returning to the Sources," 12 Mar. 2021 Video games are a way to rest and relax; being stressed about my Cozy Grove island is antithetical to that entire aim. Swapna Krishna, Wired, "Time Travel in Video Games Isn’t Really Cheating," 21 Apr. 2021 And there can be no escaping the painful truth that Boone’s frontier aspirations were antithetical to Native American survival. Peter Cozzens, WSJ, "‘Blood and Treasure’ Review: A Boone for the Frontier," 20 Apr. 2021 But that wasn't the goal of the Jan. 6 rioters, whose mission was antithetical to democracy. Star Tribune, "Capitol Police need to be better prepared for violent protests," 19 Apr. 2021 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

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

7 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Antithetical.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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