an·​to·​nym | \ˈan-tə-ˌnim \

Definition of antonym 

: a word of opposite meaning The usual antonym of good is bad.

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Other Words from antonym

antonymic \ˌan-​tə-​ˈni-​mik \ adjective
antonymous \an-​ˈtä-​nə-​məs \ adjective
antonymy \-​mē \ noun

Some Differences Between Synonyms and Antonyms

The English language (and, we may presume, many other languages) has both antonyms and synonyms. There are many more words with synonyms than there are words with antonyms, since many things exist which do not have an opposite (the word sandwich, for instance, may be said to have synonyms in the words hoagie, grinder, submarine, and many other words, but there is no opposite of sandwich). Antonym is also a much more recent addition to English than synonym is; it first appeared in the 1860s, whereas synonym has been used for more than 500 years. Additionally, both nouns have adjectival forms: synonymous and antonymous. Synonymous, which is often used loosely ("She has become synonymous with good taste"), is the more common of the two.

Examples of antonym in a Sentence

“Hot” and “cold” are antonyms.

Recent Examples on the Web

And still the signs fluttered and scattered, the book of antonyms ripped up by Sanders delegates, who tore at its pages and yanked at its binding, its brittle glue. Jill Lepore, The New Yorker, "A Tale of Two Conventions," 29 July 2016

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

First Known Use of antonym

1857, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for antonym

see -onym

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Time Traveler for antonym

The first known use of antonym was in 1857

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More Definitions for antonym



English Language Learners Definition of antonym

: a word with a meaning that is opposite to the meaning of another word


an·​to·​nym | \ˈan-tə-ˌnim \

Kids Definition of antonym

: a word of opposite meaning “Hot” and “cold” are antonyms.

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More from Merriam-Webster on antonym

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with antonym

Spanish Central: Translation of antonym

Nglish: Translation of antonym for Spanish Speakers

Comments on antonym

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a nest or breeding place

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