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Wiktionary says these terms refer to "the opposite" side, etc and offers no antonyms.

But in practice, in the field of north vs south hemispheres, they are only ever used in my experience to refer to the southern hemisphere from the point of view of the northern hemisphere?

What terms should be used to refer to this aspect "oppositeness" of the northern hemisphere from the POV of the southern hemisphere.

Can I as an Australian refer to somebody from the northern hemisphere as "antipodean"? And even if technically correct will anybody understand me?

Or do the terms in this set have accepted antonyms?

Or what other solutions might I use when I want to convey this reversed point of view?

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Given that the word is anti+podean, maybe podean? –  Matt Эллен Aug 13 '12 at 11:58
@MattЭллен: I did actually propose that term where it all started, but I didn't try to look it up! Doing that now though ... (-: –  hippietrail Aug 13 '12 at 12:01
Antipodes simply means the point that is on the exact opposite (hence anti) side of the earth from the feet (hence podean) of the observer, no matter where the observer is standing. The opposite is not podean, as Matt suggests, but it would probably just be right here or right under one's feet. –  Robusto Aug 13 '12 at 12:01
If you want to specify antipodes of antipodes, just specify antipodes of what - New Zealand is the antipodes of Spain, but Spain is the antipodes of New Zealand. It's like trying to find a good generic name for the opposite of the opposite. "Self"? "Identity?" None really work. –  SF. Aug 13 '12 at 12:14
@Robusto: My feet are right here but the guy I'm addressing over the interwebs has feet somewhere other than right here (-; –  hippietrail Aug 13 '12 at 12:17

5 Answers 5

up vote 4 down vote accepted

In general, the antipodes /ænˈtɪpədiːz/ are those

Places on the surfaces of the earth directly opposite to each other, or the place which is directly opposite to another; esp. the region directly opposite to our own.

(All citations from the OED)

It doesn’t simply mean southern, or austral. It means opposite. If you wanted to refer to those at your antipodes, you could call them that, but the word came around when the assumed perspective was that of England. Perhaps you could try boreal brethren for northern neighbors.

An Antipodean with capital, or the obsolete but regular Antipodian, is

1. Of or pertaining to the opposite side of the world; esp. Australasian.

That is also its noun sense. A secondary adjectival sense (not capitalized) is

2. humorously, Having everything upside down.

Plus the expected

3. fig. Of or pertaining to direct opposition; diametrically opposed (to).

Other forms include antipodal, antipodic, and antipodist, which once included a heretic of a particular sort.

Although you will find people using antipode in the singular, that is usually reserved for alternate senses of antipodes, including a chemical one. The original historical singular of antipodes is (or was) antipos:

  • 1631 Brathwait Whimzies 115 ― A Zealous Brother··is an antipos to all church government.

One would have expected antipus there.

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Actually this question was inspired by an online chat where I was called "weird" due to using upside-down smileys, which I use to celebrate my antipodean homeland. For ironic and comedic uses I really like your term boreal, but I'm trying to decide between it and borean (-: –  hippietrail Aug 13 '12 at 13:00
I feel that using antipodes to refer to Europe from Australia is cool and fine. It is a semi-jocular expression anyway, and it all fits perfectly. I sympathise with no rules of limitation here. –  Cerberus Aug 13 '12 at 17:47

In theory, antipodean does mean opposite, and you could use it in conversation or in an Australian newspaper to refer to Europe (though probably not the USA). You couldn't use it on this site, for example, because the conversation is taking place neither in Australia nor in Europe. But in practice, it can't be used without confusion; this is because the Antipodes (capitalised) refers to Australia and New Zealand wherever you are standing, just as the West refers to North America and Europe, even if you are in Alaska and 'The West' is east of you.

I can see this may be annoying; the only consolation I can offer is that the problem has a long history. The Roman province of Transalpine Gaul was actually on the same side of the Alps as the capital of Gaul, because the name was assigned by somebody in Rome, to whom most of Gaul was 'the far side of the Alps'.

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Some Googling has led me to this term which I'd vaguely heard but never looked up before:

Hyperborean (Greek mythology) one of a people that the ancient Greeks believed lived in a warm and sunny land north of the source of the north wind

(from WordNet 3.1)

And despite a terribly flaky Internet connection this afternoon, what I found on Wiktionary is even better:

2. (usually humorous) Any person living in a northern country, or to the north.

1. Pertaining to the extreme north of the earth, or (usually jocular) to a specific northern country or area.

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The only problem with "hyperborean" is that most of Australia is warmer than most of Europe. –  JSBձոգչ Aug 13 '12 at 14:22
@JSBձոգչ: True - that could add to the irony though (-; –  hippietrail Aug 13 '12 at 14:59

If A is the antipodes of B, B is also the antipodes of A. This is because two points are antipodal to each other if they can be connected by a straight line passing through the center of the earth.

Colloquially, "Antipodes" is used in the UK to refer to Australia/New Zealand, and antipodeans to their natives. You could use it the other way around, but I doubt anyone outside of the UK/Ireland would understand.

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Could you suggest a colloquial equivalent for Australians to refer to the British? An actual one used rarely or an invented one like tchrist cam up with? –  hippietrail Aug 13 '12 at 12:53
A coinage: alloantipode/-ean/-es - the other or different antipode –  StoneyB Aug 13 '12 at 14:40
Note, the area antipodal to Australia is mostly empty Atlantic out east of Bermuda. (Bermuda is approximately antipodal to Perth.) Antipodal to England is mostly empty Pacific, but Antipodes Is., NZ is approximately antipodal to London. –  jwpat7 Aug 13 '12 at 14:56
@jwpat7: Yes I looked up antipodes to many places on Wolfram Alpha once and none of them were opposite land! Wikipedia tells me only a small percentage of land has land at its antipode. –  hippietrail Aug 13 '12 at 19:08

If your premise is that an antipodean is someone on the opposite of the world from you, perhaps someone on the same side would be cispodean (a word I just made up).

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