Antonym

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Dictionary Meaning and Definition on 'Antonym'

Antonym Meaning and Definition from WordNet (r) 2.0
    antonym n : two words that express opposing concepts; "to him the opposite of gay was depressed" [syn: opposite word, opposite]
Antonym Meaning and Definition from Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
    Antonym \An"to*nym\, n. [Gr. ? a word used in substitution for another; ? + ?, ?, a word.] A word of opposite meaning; a counterterm; -- used as a correlative of synonym. [R.] --C. J. Smith.
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Wikipedia Meaning and Definition on 'Antonym'


In lexical semantics, opposites are words that lie in an inherently incompatible binary relationship as in the opposite pairs male : female, long : short, up : down, and precede : follow. The notion of incompatibility here refers to the fact that one word in an opposite pair entails that it is not the other pair member. For example, something that is long entails that it is not short. It is referred to as a 'binary' relationship because there are two members in a set of opposites. The relationship between opposites is known as opposition. A member of a pair of opposites can generally be determined by the question What is the opposite of  X ?

The term antonym (and the related antonymy) has also been commonly used as a term that is synonymous with opposite; however, the term also has other more restricted meanings. One usage has antonym referring to both gradable opposites, such as long : short, and (non-gradable) complementary opposites, such as male : female, while opposites of the types up : down and precede : follow are excluded from the definition. A third usage (particularly that of the influential Lyons 1968, 1977) defines the term antonym as referring to only gradable opposites (the long : short type) while the other types are referred to with different terms. Therefore, as Crystal (2003) warns, the terms antonymy and antonym should be regarded with care. In this article, the usage of Lyons (1963, 1977) and Cruse (1986, 2004) will be followed where antonym is restricted to gradable opposites and opposite is used as the general term referring to any of the subtypes discussed below.

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