In my academic discipline (meteorology), I very occasionally see lysis used to refer to dissipation of a system where genesis has been used to describe its initial development.

However, lysis seems to really only have biological connotations, so is this usage correct? If not, what would an appropriate antonym for genesis be?

  • OED lysis Defn 2: Pathol. ‘An insensible or gradual solution or termination of a disease or disorder without apparent phenomena’. Defn 3: Biol. [perhaps derived from the suffix -lysis in bacteriolysis , hæmolysis (see 2).] The disintegration or dissolution of cells or cell organelles; esp. the dissolution of bacterial cells brought about by bacteriophage. What do you want it to mean in a meteorological context? – FumbleFingers Oct 17 '14 at 12:32
  • tough question! maybe just "disintegration" or "dissipation" or "collapse" or "completion"? (They tend to only suit certain situations, though.) – Fattie Oct 17 '14 at 12:33
  • Fumble: "the opposite of genesis" – Fattie Oct 17 '14 at 12:33
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    To degenerate: degeneration. – Dan Bron Oct 17 '14 at 12:43
  • Do you want a verb or a noun? – Gary's Student Oct 17 '14 at 12:44

Dissipation is the first possibility to mind, especially if you are talking about very IMMORAL weather. Probably caused by climate-change. =] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dissipation


Late PS: Perhaps because I'm a bit highbrow (note elevated snoot!) I tend to hate highbrow terms. Familiarity breeds contempt. So how about a good knuckle-dragging Neanderthal term instead? Like, um... fizzle.. Hurricane Gonzalo will fizzle somewhere between Bermuda and Newfoundland... fo'shizzle it'll fizzle (whoa! poetic!)


I think the antonym of "genesis" is "terminus." The general meaning of genesis (outside any particular contextual application) is "beginning." So the antonym should be a word that generally means "ending."

"Dissipation," "collapse," "completion," and "lysis" all are words that denote specific kinds of endings, and are only antonymic in particular contexts. Nonetheless, "dissipation" might be the best word for your usage case.

  • Welcome to EL&U. Thanks for your answer. Please consider improving it with references. – Rupert Morrish Feb 9 '18 at 0:58

It seems to me that when "genesis" is used to describe the earth's creation, that its antonym isn't about the earth's death. It's about its "reconfiguration" or "recycling" in the cosmos.


I'm seeing several reference to hurricane dissipation: The dissipation of Hurricane Katrina, and the "Hurricane Formation, Movement, and Dissipation."

Before it dissipates, the hurricane will decay: "Hurricane Decay: Demise of a Hurricane." There's another word: demise.

Lysis seems to carry a connotation of cell death in the realm of biology. It seems like a metaphorical stretch to go from cell death to hurricane death, because one is very small and is literally dying; the other is very big and figuratively dying.

  • By definition, any metaphor is figurative. – Barmar Oct 17 '14 at 22:45

Was looking for a similar answer. Here are the words I've narrowed down to:

-terminus -coda -quietus

Hope one of those finds its way to your use.

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    Hello and welcome to EL&U. It's customary to add some information about why selected words are appropriate: links to definitions, examples of usage, etc. (I didn't downvote your answer, by the way.) – Lawrence Feb 8 '18 at 22:37

How about ‘nemesis’ - the ‘agent of ultimate downfall’. The person or thing that causes the decline and downfall or demise of a person or thing.


“A source of harm or ruin: Uncritical trust is my nemesis. Retributive justice in its execution or outcome: To follow the proposed course of action is to invite nemesis. An opponent that cannot be beaten or overcome. One that inflicts retribution or vengeance.”


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    That describes an opponent, not the termination itself. – Lawrence Feb 8 '18 at 22:34

Genesis seems to mean something about beginnings, they usually start out small and have indicators of what will come or 'genetic" traits that its inherited; like a seed or a singular cell that splits itself into multiple in order to create. In creating this system it essentially becomes the system. Lysis seems adequate to categorize as an antonym as it is a small degeneration of these cells (metaphorical or not) that wipes out whole systems. Genesis is generation generation of whole systems at base level Lysis is a degeneration of systems at the base level

protected by Mitch Apr 16 at 17:29

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