1 : being in direct and unequivocal opposition : directly opposite or opposed
2 : constituting or marked by antithesis : pertaining to the rhetorical contrast of ideas by means of parallel arrangements of words, clauses, or sentences
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 "a time to plant, a time to reap." Antithetical can mean "constituting or marked by such language patterns." For example, you could say "The phrase 'action, not words' is an antithetical construction." In its more frequent use, however, antithetical describes something that contradicts the logic or spirit of something else (as in "a policy antithetical to the company's mission").
"It's telling that the library at the Circle is a gorgeous but unused relic: Being alone with a book is something antithetical to the plugged-in networking that preoccupies the company's workers." — David Mikics, The New York Times, 3 Jan. 2014
"By doubling, and in some cases tripling, the entrance fees, the National Park Service would absolutely limit access to some of the country's most majestic places. That's antithetical to the parks' mission. It's also completely unnecessary." — The San Francisco Chronicle, 24 Nov. 2017
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Name That Synonym
Unscramble the letters to create a synonym of antithetical meaning "opposite" or "opposed": AEMICDITR.VIEW THE ANSWER
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