Every word has an antonyms


As antonym is a verbal noun, also called an opposition word. Accordingly, the antonym means a word whose meaning means the absolute opposite, i.e. the exact opposite of another word. In the literature, antonyms are mainly used in paradoxes, oxymora or antitheses. However, there is not a corresponding antonym for every term. Not to be confused with antonyms with their counterparts. The counterpart is a counterpart, i.e. something that means the same thing in terms of content, but a different area or (cultural) Space is to be assigned.


The term can be derived from the Greek and is made up of the prepositionanti (αντί) for against and the nounónoma (ὄνομα) for Names together. Hence, the word can be used as Counter name translate and thus refers to its own meaning: it is a word that is opposed to another in terms of content. Word and counterword form a pair of opposites.

List of antonyms (examples)

according toquietly
rawat all
Note: All antonyms in the example table above can be interchanged. So is not only hot the antonym of cold, rather cold also equally the antonym of hot. Even more examples of antonymic adjectives and nouns can be found in the contribution Pair of Opposites.

Formation of antonyms

Numerous opposite words can be used with the prefix U.N form. As a result, it will be off clearnot clear as well as from yieldingunyielding. However, there are no clear rules on how to form the opposite of a word, although the addition of the prefix mentioned seems appropriate in many cases.

However, no liability can be derived from this. Because the opposite of heat is cold and not Unheat, being derived from the adjectivecheap not even the antonym unfair can be derived. There are also words that start with the prefix U.N exist, but do not express the opposite.

For example could courage and cowardice form a pair of opposites. The Displeasure means something completely different, even if it is in the German vocabulary. As Displeasure namely, a feeling of dissatisfaction is described and not the fear of danger like it cowardice expresses.

From this it can be deduced that the prefix U.N It is used quite often to form antonyms, but it is by no means binding that the formation of the opposite of a word cannot be transferred to other pairs of opposites. For example are Overpass and underpass relating to transportation antonyms. crossing and Downfall however have nothing to do with each other.


There are terms that don't need a second word to express the opposite. They themselves stand for what is meant and equally for the respective opposite. Such a word is called an auto-antonym, but also a Janus word and an antonym. Some examples:

We want to cover the roof tomorrow.

In the example above becomes the verb cover second hand. However, the term has two meanings, which is why the above sentence could be misunderstood. On the one hand means cover namely, that something is taken down from something that is covered. For example, you could cover a table. On the other hand, the word means that one thing covered becomes. So a hole could be covered with boards. Should the tiles of the roof be lowered or something should be put on for protection?

So the word can thus form its own opposite, at least in the broadest sense. In such a case one speaks of an auto-antonym or Janus word. Janus words are therefore antonymic (having an opposite meaning) and also homonymous (identical). Another example:

I am playing with the idea of ​​expanding the shelf.

This example sentence too could well be misunderstood. On the one hand, the verb means Removethat one thing is expanded. Consequently, if you expand your own attic, you are very likely to expand your living space. On the other hand, the word can also mean that an object is removed. The words remove and expand stand opposite each other in terms of content and still be in the word Remove united - an auto-antonym that is identical and yet can have opposite meanings.

Hence the meaning of such Janus words can be inferred from the context or the speaker's experience. This is the only way to understand what is actually meant. Further examples that remain uncommented are the following words: War opponents, stop, pick up, drive around, overlook, say goodbye, stop, sanction or even leave.

Question: Does every word have an antonym?

Opposites can be found for numerous words. Presumably, it is also the case that even most adjectives have an opposite meaning. However, there are numerous nouns without opposites, all numerals(Numerals) have no antonym.

Some figures or expressions suggest it, but especially for many nouns, there can be no opposite. For example, is a book a collection of pages held together by a binding and usually a cover. No opposite can be thought or formed for this. The same applies, of course, to most proper names - which should also be the opposite of fir or rose be?

And also common couples like Cat dog or Fire / water are not actually opposites. For example, is a Fire a form of combustion that creates flames. The opposite of fire would be more like one Non-combustionthat does not cause flames. The water but is a hydrogen-oxygen compound and a transparent, colorless, odorless and also tasteless liquid.

It stands here so the content liquid and flaming combustion across from. These are no Opposites! However, in this case the properties that the nouns sometimes cause can be described as opposing, i.e. antonym. Namely the classic pair of opposites dry wet.

Brief overview: The most important thing about the term at a glance
  • A linguistic counterword is called an antonym. An antagonist is a word that describes the exact opposite of another word. In the broadest sense, however, the term is also used for gradations. As a result, on the one hand hot and cold are considered to be absolute opposites, whereby warm and cold also appear to be the opposite. The adjective warm would be a gradation of hot.
  • Such counterwords are often given the prefix U.N educated. Basically, there are no rules for the formation of antonyms. At best, as a temporary occassionalism, such a connection would be conceivable as a stylistic device. This means that a speaker closes a linguistic gap by spontaneously creating new words (Example: That was a real non-party!).
  • There are also words that have an antonymic meaning in themselves. In this case one speaks of auto-antonyms, Janus words or also antonyms. As an example, the verb cover be cited. This means either that something is removed, i.e. that something is freed, or that something is placed on a thing for protection.
  • It is also important that there are no opposites to numerous terms. It seems like there are actually numerous adjectives that have an antonym, but other parts of speech are different. As a result, very few words have an actual antonym and are therefore present without any linguistic opposite.