What is the opposite of wide and wider?

For instance, is the corresponding opposite to sentence one below really sentence two?

  1. The Ipad2 is wider than the iPad Air.
  2. The iPad Air is narrower than the iPad2.

I ask because narrower does not sound right to me.

closed as off-topic by tchrist, Ronan, Edwin Ashworth, Hellion, Robusto Aug 7 '14 at 19:57

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions that can be answered using commonly-available references are off-topic. A list of these references can be found here: List of general references" – tchrist, Ronan, Edwin Ashworth, Hellion, Robusto
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 5
    I don't see anything wrong with narrower. – Rupe Aug 7 '14 at 15:29
  • Agree with Rupe. Slimmer or thinner may work either. – Ronan Aug 7 '14 at 15:36
  • Generally, a three dimensional object has a length, width and height (or thickness). They therefore can be (long/short), (wide/narrow) (tall/short or thin/thick). Don't substitute thin for narrow they refer to different dimensions. – Jim Aug 7 '14 at 16:11
  • what about slim?collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/… – Itsme Aug 7 '14 at 16:35

The antonyms of wide and wider are narrow and narrower. With most comparatives, you can opt to use the -er suffix or you can prepend the word more. Generally, multisyllable words, such as narrow, would be prepended with the word more. So, if you don't feel comfortable with the word narrower then you can use more narrow.

"More clear" vs "Clearer": when to use "more" instead of "-er"?

  • 2
    The rule is that one-syllable words take -er, three or more take more, and two-syllable words ending in tense vowels (busy, narrow) take -er; other bisyllables take more. The reason for the exception is that tense vowels have offglides that merge easily with the shwa of the suffix /'iziyər/ and /'nɛrowər/. They're the most common final vowels with offglides. There aren't that many bisyllabic adjectives that end in tense vowels. – John Lawler Aug 7 '14 at 16:01
  • 1
    To adapt a comment by Reg Dwight, If a question is adequately answered by a quick look in a readily available reference, it should not be answered in the first place, as it is off-topic as general reference. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 7 '14 at 16:30
  • 1
    My concern is not with using -er or "more". I think narrow refers to the inner dimension, whereas wide refers to both inner and outer dimensions. The opposite of wide, when referring to inner dimension is narrow. How about when referring to the outer dimension? The opposite of "wide alley" is "narrow alley". Can we say the opposite of "wide screen" is "narrow screen"? – Per Aug 7 '14 at 17:03
  • @Per Yes I think we can. I don't think your "inner dimension" idea works. "Narrow boat", "narrow brush" and "narrow waist" are the first counter-examples that spring to my mind. – Rupe Aug 7 '14 at 20:05
  • Having said that, it's true that if you said "narrow screen" I'd probably interpret it as being exceptionally narrow, even portrait rather than landscape format (otherwise why would you say it?). But if you said that one screen is narrower than another I'd take it to just mean "less wide". – Rupe Aug 7 '14 at 20:08

The opposite of wide is narrow, and your example is correct. If you're talking about the depth of the device, you could say it is thinner or skinnier. You could also say it's less wide if you don't like using narrower.


Ngrams fairly conclusively picks out narrow as the opposite of wide. If you ask it for "* or wide" and "wide or *", where the asterisk is a wildcard, narrow leads by a wide margin. Conversely, Ngrams shows that narrow has two opposites, wide and broad.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.