opposite

1 of 4

adjective

op·​po·​site ˈä-pə-zət How to pronounce opposite (audio)
ˈäp-sət
1
a
: set over against something that is at the other end or side of an intervening (see intervene sense 4) line or space
opposite interior angles
opposite ends of a diameter
b
: situated in pairs on an axis (see axis sense 3) with each member being separated from the other by half the circumference (see circumference sense 2) of the axis
opposite leaves
compare alternate
2
a
: occupying an opposing and often antagonistic position
opposite sides of the question
b
: diametrically different (as in nature or character)
opposite meanings
3
: contrary to one another or to a thing specified : reverse
gave them opposite directions
4
: being the other of a pair that are corresponding (see corresponding sense 1a) or complementary (see complementary sense 2) in position, function, or nature
In the final position, the two exchanged rooks and left bishops of opposite color, a position that often leads to a draw …The Chicago Sun Times
see also opposite sex
5
: of, relating to, or being the side of a baseball field that is near the first base line for a right-handed batter and near the third base line for a left-handed batter
oppositely adverb
oppositeness noun

opposite

2 of 4

noun

1
: something that is opposed to some other often specified thing
2
3
: additive inverse
especially : the additive inverse of a real number

opposite

3 of 4

adverb

: on or to an opposite side

opposite

4 of 4

preposition

1
: across from and usually facing or on the same level with
sat opposite each other
2
: in a role complementary to
played opposite the leading man in the comedy
Choose the Right Synonym for opposite

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

Example Sentences

Adjective The two boys lived on opposite sides of the street. the opposite bank of the river Fold the bottom right corner of the paper over to the opposite corner. The two scientists had the same information but reached opposite conclusions. They represent opposite sides of the issue. They ran in opposite directions. Her music is at the opposite end of the spectrum from the music her mother made. Noun “Wet” is the opposite of “dry.” The terms “black” and “white” are opposites. Adverb I sat down and he sat opposite. Preposition She lives in the house opposite ours. The school is opposite a park. I played opposite the best player in the league. She stars opposite Clint Eastwood in her latest movie. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
Most startling, three officers grappling from opposite sides seemed for a time to prop Nichols up on his feet as another swung a fist through the air at his head, like goons holding up a snitch for a Mafia boss in a movie. David D. Kirkpatrick, The New Yorker, 28 Jan. 2023 The team visually unified opposite sides of the street with pavings of red brick, which function as a visual bridge. Los Angeles Times, 23 Jan. 2023 This time, in music clearly intended for antiphonal effects between first and second violins on opposite sides of the stage, all the violins were back on the left. Dallas News, 20 Jan. 2023 On opposite sides of the philosophical spectrum are the Americans and Germans. Lenora Chu, The Christian Science Monitor, 12 Jan. 2023 The cast, particularly Williams and McGraw as the two principal figures initially on opposite sides of the M3GAN conflict, do everything that’s required of them in terms of reacting to the escalating mayhem. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 4 Jan. 2023 Political observers got to witness a rare display of good will between two members of Congress from opposite sides of the aisle this week. Emily Sweeney, BostonGlobe.com, 30 Dec. 2022 These two fires on opposite sides of the country are among 64,835 wildfires reported in the nation this year, as of Dec. 9, the most since 2017. Dinah Voyles Pulver, USA TODAY, 24 Dec. 2022 At baggage claim, Mauricio and Catalina stood on opposite sides of the luggage carousel. CNN, 23 Dec. 2022
Noun
It’s that exact sort of thing that contains its opposite. Liz Appel, Vogue, 30 Jan. 2023 In New Hampshire, Trump promoted his campaign agenda, including immigration and crime, and said his policies would be the opposite of President Joe Biden's. Dallas News, 28 Jan. 2023 William, meanwhile, was the opposite of monochromatic in his blue suit, Oxford shirt, and hunter green sweater. Kathleen Walsh, Glamour, 26 Jan. 2023 Detractors argued that, real or fake, the heads glorified big-game hunting as a sport and promoted violence against animals—even if Schiaparelli’s intention was the opposite. Lane Florsheim, WSJ, 24 Jan. 2023 The trendy spin on terra-cotta couples well with bright blue, its opposite on the color wheel. Caitlin Sole, Better Homes & Gardens, 23 Jan. 2023 According to a representative for the brand, maturation takes place underneath the distillery in a cool, damp climate with little air flow, which is basically the opposite of a rickhouse in Kentucky. Jonah Flicker, Robb Report, 23 Jan. 2023 His opposite would be a veteran of the NFL, preferably with a knowledge of how to develop a quarterback at the NFL level, and the ability to hire assistants to help him do that. Kent Somers, The Arizona Republic, 9 Jan. 2023 Wiley took the photograph home and began to consider the chasm between the aggrandizing conventions of European portraiture—with its kings, saints, and smug gentry—and its perverse opposite in the photo studios of the New York Police Department. Julian Lucas, The New Yorker, 26 Dec. 2022
Adverb
So the Cowboys need to sign a veteran receiver to start opposite of CeeDee Lamb, right? Dallas News, 3 Aug. 2022 Second-year edge rusher Joseph Ossai will start opposite of Hendrickson in place of Hubbard against the Patriots. Cincinnati Enquirer, The Enquirer, 22 Dec. 2022 Located just opposite of Vesuvius, on the other side of Naples, Campi Flegrei lies mostly underground, which is why most tourists are oblivious to its existence and instead obsess over historic Vesuvius. Stav Dimitropoulos, Popular Mechanics, 16 Dec. 2022 Larry Nixon III operates opposite of Davis in the middle, recording the second-most stops with 62 tackles (1 for loss) and a sack, and Kevin Wood rounds out the rotation in the middle with 37 tackles and an interception. Evan Dudley, al, 10 Nov. 2022 Carter, a rookie who’s been starting opposite of Tupou and Tufele since Reader’s injury against the Jets, said that backups like Tufele and Davis-Gaither prepared this week even without the old adage of the ‘next man up’ mentality in mind. Mohammad Ahmad, cleveland, 23 Oct. 2022 The redshirt freshman started opposite of junior right tackle Jeremy Flax during a recent scrimmage, and his performance appears to have earned him a first-team spot when Kentucky opens the season Sept. 3 against Miami (Ohio). The Courier-Journal, 26 Aug. 2022 Best of Beauty Award-winning formula does the exact opposite. Anamaria Glavan, Allure, 8 Nov. 2022 Recall that immediately upon his inauguration as president in 1981, Ronald Reagan did the exact opposite by decontrolling energy prices, allowing markets to efficiently equilibrate in response to price signals. WSJ, 25 Sep. 2022
Preposition
So get ready for the Sound of Music sequel everyone wants: a drama largely focused on estate law in the state of Vermont, starring Meryl Streep opposite a kind of bitchy Maria von Trapp. Rebecca Alter, Vulture, 17 Jan. 2023 Condon is currently starring opposite Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson in Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin. Etan Vlessing, The Hollywood Reporter, 10 Jan. 2023 Jackson was part of a competition this summer to start opposite Kool-Aid McKinstry but Arnold won that job before Ricks later replaced him. Mike Rodak | Mrodak@al.com, al, 23 Nov. 2022 But the injury to veteran James Washington means Noah Brown will likely start opposite Lamb against Tampa Bay to open the season. Dallas News, 1 Sep. 2022 Mack will start opposite Joey Bosa on the outside of the defensive front, and Joseph-Day will start inside. Jeff Miller, Los Angeles Times, 18 Apr. 2022 The Wisconsin Badgers arrived in Las Vegas on Friday to start preparation for their bowl date opposite Arizona State. Michelle Gardner, The Arizona Republic, 31 Dec. 2021 The three 500-square-foot huts rest on the lake’s western shore, opposite the cliff. Gregory Thomas, San Francisco Chronicle, 27 Nov. 2021 Mike White’s sophomore season of The White Lotus shifts its focus from class to gender dynamics, with Plaza leading the ensemble cast as the shrewd, cynical Harper opposite her more affable husband, Ethan (Will Sharpe). Hilton Dresden, The Hollywood Reporter, 13 Dec. 2022 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin oppositus, from past participle of oppōnere "to place (over or against), place as an obstacle, set in opposition to, argue in reply" — more at oppose

Noun

Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin oppositus, noun derivative from past participle of oppōnere "to place (over or against), place as an obstacle, set in opposition to, argue in reply" — more at oppose

Adverb

derivative of opposite entry 1

Preposition

derivative of opposite entry 1

First Known Use

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adverb

1667, in the meaning defined above

Preposition

1758, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of opposite was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near opposite

Cite this Entry

“Opposite.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/opposite. Accessed 2 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

opposite

1 of 4 adjective
op·​po·​site ˈäp-ə-zət How to pronounce opposite (audio)
ˈäp-sət
1
a
: being at the other end, side, or corner
lived on opposite sides of the street
the opposite sides of a rectangle
b
: being one of two angles of a four-sided figure (as a square or parallelogram) that are not next to each other
2
a
: being in a position to oppose or cancel out
opposite sides of the question
b
: as different as possible : contrary
reached opposite conclusions
went off in opposite directions
3
: being the other of a matching or contrasting pair
the opposite sex
oppositely adverb
oppositeness noun

opposite

2 of 4 noun
1
: someone or something that is opposite
2
3
: additive inverse
especially : the additive inverse of a real number
+3 and −3 are opposites

opposite

3 of 4 adverb
: on or to the opposite side

opposite

4 of 4 preposition
: across from and usually facing or on the same level with
the house opposite ours

More from Merriam-Webster on opposite

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