Meaning of Antonym

We often come across two words that are very similar to each other. They practically mean the same thing but use different words. Then there are another set of words that mean exactly the opposite of each other. Think ‘good’ and ‘bad’, they are exactly the opposite of each other. These words that have opposite meanings are called Antonyms.

An antonym of a word is another word that has a contrary meaning to the original word. The word ‘antonym’ actually adds the word ‘anti’ which is a Greek word meaning “opposite,” to another Greek word, ‘-onym’, which comes from the Greek ‘onoma’ meaning “name.” Hence, ‘antonym’ is ‘anti-onym’ or “opposite-name.”

In life there are many antonyms. For example, ‘stop’ and ‘go’; or ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’; or ‘full’ and ‘empty.’ These are just a few of the examples that we come across in our everyday lives.

While most antonyms are separate words depicting the opposite meaning of something, there are some words that can be transformed into their antonyms simply by adding a prefix to them, such as “likable” is changed into its antonym by adding ‘un’ in front of it, making it “unlikable.” Some of these prefixes are “un,” “in,” or “non.”

English language, or rather langue in general, is very complex. There are many words that mean the same or similar things. Hence, there are many words that mean the opposite of something. For example: the antonyms for the word “good”, can include bad, badly, badness, evil, evilness, ill, malevolent, malicious, poorly, wicked, etc.

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