Synonyms & Antonyms of antagonism

a deep-seated ill will
  • the antagonism between them was so bad they couldn't even sit near each other

Synonyms for antagonism

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Antonyms for antagonism

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Frequently Asked Questions About antagonism

How does the noun antagonism differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of antagonism are animosity, animus, antipathy, enmity, hostility, and rancor. While all these words mean "deep-seated dislike or ill will," antipathy and antagonism imply a natural or logical basis for one's hatred or dislike, antipathy suggesting repugnance, a desire to avoid or reject, and antagonism suggesting a clash of temperaments leading readily to hostility.

a natural antipathy for self-seekers

antagonism between the brothers

When is animosity a more appropriate choice than antagonism?

The words animosity and antagonism can be used in similar contexts, but animosity suggests intense ill will and vindictiveness that threaten to kindle hostility.

animosity that led to revenge

In what contexts can animus take the place of antagonism?

While the synonyms animus and antagonism are close in meaning, animus adds to animosity the implication of strong prejudice.

objections devoid of personal animus

When could enmity be used to replace antagonism?

While in some cases nearly identical to antagonism, enmity suggests positive hatred which may be open or concealed.

an unspoken enmity

Where would hostility be a reasonable alternative to antagonism?

Although the words hostility and antagonism have much in common, hostility suggests an enmity showing itself in attacks or aggression.

hostility between the two nations

When would rancor be a good substitute for antagonism?

The meanings of rancor and antagonism largely overlap; however, rancor is especially applied to bitter brooding over a wrong.

rancor filled every line of his letters

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The first known use of antagonism was in 1716

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Cite this Entry

“Antagonism.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Oct. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on antagonism

Nglish: Translation of antagonism for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of antagonism for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about antagonism


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