What Is a Antonymor

What Is a Antonymor

What Is a Antonym

Sometimes, dictionaries can prove to be more of a detriment than a tool. They often define terms in ways that are not entirely helpful and don’t suit precise uses, especially in creative writing. To truly understand what it means to be an antonym, you need to use your own mind. Fear not, we’re here to help you break it down.


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.

Note: French antonyme appears in the title and text of Dictionnaire des antonymes ou contremots (Paris & Berlin, 1842), an early dictionary of antonyms compiled from 17th-18th-century authors by the Alsatian philologist Paul Ackermann (1812-46), who may have coined the word. In English antonym was promulgated, if not first used, by the British clergyman Charles John Smith (1819-72) in Synonyms and Antonyms, Collected and Contrasted (London: Bell & Daldy, 1867), which went through several subsequent editions and reprints. (Source: www.merriam-webster.com)


Using antonyms can help improve our vocabulary, as well. As we saw with the word 'scared,' we tend to have a list of 'go to' words when we write. It is easier to pull out words that we are comfortable using, but some of those words may be overused. When we look at a list of antonyms, we discover new words to add to our 'go to' list, and the more we use new words, the better our vocabulary will be.

In this lesson, we learned about antonyms. An antonym is a word that means the opposite of a given word. For example, "high" is the opposite of "low." Learning about antonyms can help improve your vocabulary and contribute to better writing skills. Practice what you have learned using the following exercises! (Source: study.com)


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