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Does anyone know what would be an appropriate antonym for gem-like?

That is, a word for something that is not valuable, not beautiful, brilliant, or clear, and may be soft, where a gem is hard.

Edit: We can say gem-like to mean someone with attractive qualities. I was looking for an opposite along that line.

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Erm, I think your problem is that "jewel" doesn't have an opposite, unless you count "paste". Can you give some sense of what quality of jewels you're trying to evoke the opposite of? –  Christi Apr 27 '12 at 20:06
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People, people, people: not all words have antonyms. It's a fact of English and a fact of life. –  Robusto Apr 27 '12 at 20:09
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It depends on context, I suppose. Jewels have a number of distinctive characteristics: hardness, clarity, brilliance, intrinsic value... Change any one of them, and you have the opposite. In chemistry, the flame of a burning gas can be described as "gem-like"; in fact, the phrase is used to describe ignited flatulence. So perhaps the opposite of "jewel-like" is "like an unlit fart"? –  MT_Head Apr 27 '12 at 20:11
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As MT_Head points out, without further context this question is impossible to answer. Opposites are defined by context. Man can be the opposite of woman, or the opposite of boy, or the opposite of animal — even though a man is an animal (and not a plant). So, please provide further context, then this question can be reopened. Otherwise the most helpful answer we can offer is jewel-unlike, which is not really helpful at all. –  RegDwigнt Apr 27 '12 at 20:19
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When you say you want the opposite of "someone with attractive qualities", should that mean "someone with a lack of attractive qualities", or "someone with UNattractive (ugly, repellent, repulsive,...) qualities"? Because those two could be very different. –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Apr 27 '12 at 21:18
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4 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I'm going to suggest "banal" as an answer to this question. A banal person would be someone who generally makes one feel worse for time in their company. If you're looking for a word which specifically conveys lack of value, "worthless" is also a possibility.

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Rough-like or just plain rough.

a : something in a crude, unfinished, or preliminary state

See also: a diamond in the rough.

EDIT: After reading OP's edits I thought to look up boorish. While that doesn't seem to fit exactly, I thought this synonym discussion on the page was interesting:

boorish, churlish, loutish, clownish mean uncouth in manners or appearance.

boorish implies rudeness of manner due to insensitiveness to others' feelings and unwillingness to be agreeable .

churlish suggests surliness, unresponsiveness, and ungraciousness .

loutish implies bodily awkwardness together with stupidity .

clownish suggests ill-bred awkwardness, ignorance or stupidity, ungainliness, and often a propensity for absurd antics .

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I would simply use rough – he is a rough character. Course is another good one. –  zpletan Apr 27 '12 at 21:14
    
I would too upon OP's edits. –  cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Apr 27 '12 at 21:15
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@zpletan: Did you mean coarse? –  John Y Apr 27 '12 at 21:18
    
@JohnY, yes, I did mean coarse. Thanks for catching. –  zpletan Apr 27 '12 at 21:22
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I've not heard gem-like used of people, but I assume OP means something akin to she's/he's a gem, which are both common enough. The sense there is that she/he is a valuable person - well worth knowing because they have fine personality traits (not because they have wealth). The "antonym" would thus be someone who isn't worth knowing...

He's a nobody/nothing.

He's a waste of time (or my personal favourite, ...a waste of space).

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My favorite is "a waste of carbon", which can be interpreted in several ways; in this context, it could mean "instead of being wasted on your useless carcass, that carbon could have been used to make a diamond!" –  MT_Head Apr 27 '12 at 21:47
    
From the Mr. Mister song Kyrie: My heart is old, it holds my memories / My body burns - a gem-like flame... –  MT_Head Apr 27 '12 at 21:50
    
@MT_Head: According to yahoo answers, a human body is 18% carbon. And according to answers.com a 5-caret diamond weighs one gram. Maths isn't my strong suit, but I reckon that means one obese person could be converted into a 50,000-caret diamond. I'm off out to see if I can pull a fat chick... –  FumbleFingers Apr 27 '12 at 22:00
    
Shall I call you Ishmael? –  MT_Head Apr 27 '12 at 22:02
    
When hammered open, the small chest proved to contain sparkling gems, dispersed, almost hidden, among numerous dull greyish chunks of dross. –  Wayfaring Stranger Apr 28 '12 at 2:24
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In the sense that a gem is one who is held in high esteem, regard, or affection, then some antonyms may be: unappealing, unlikable (or disliked), unattractive.

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