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"Negligible" roughly means "Small enough to essentially be zero." For example, in high school physics problems, air resistance is negligible. Is there a word that means "large enough to be essentially infinite"? For example, "For someone on a bike, the distance to the other side of the world is ______."

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    The opposite of negligible would be significant, which fits your sentence but not really the meaning you're looking for. – EFrog Jan 15 '15 at 22:45
  • I guess that would be the true opposite of negligible, but that wasn't what I was looking for. – ItsTimmy Jan 15 '15 at 22:49
  • No, negligible does not mean small enough to be zero. Its meaning is associated with importance or relative magnitude rather than absolute magnitude. For example, "Compared to Bill Gates, my income is negligible." Note this does not mean that my income is essentially zero. – Martin Krzywinski Jan 15 '15 at 23:08
  • Huge. Immense. Vast. Gargantuan. Brobdingnagian. Of not insignificant proportions. – A E Jan 16 '15 at 16:08

10 Answers 10

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Are you looking for "immensurable" or "immeasurable"?

immensurable (adj) immeasurable, impossible to measure TFD

  • "He was a man who displayed immensurable courage even in the face of overwhelming adversity."
  • "The immensurable magnitude of some stars."
  • "Its applicability is immensurable."
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    This is not the opposite of 'negligible.' It is the opposite of 'measurable' or 'finite.' – user106437 Jan 16 '15 at 19:40
  • @daniel You have posted your answer, so we all know what you think should be the right answer. Thank you for your opinion anyway. – Centaurus Jan 16 '15 at 20:38
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I would say it's substantial.

substantial adj
1. Considerable in importance, value, degree, amount, or extent:

TFD

(Note that you could go with considerable itself as well.)

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Does a dog have the Buddha nature? Unfortunately, your question has some logical fallacies.

"Small enough to essentially be zero" is the definition of infinitesimal, not negligible. When dividing by zero, or a number close to zero, for example, the result is certainly not negligible, so defining negligible with the word zero is a mistake.

A better (but still truncated) definition is something like "so small as to warrant little or no attention." The opposite of that definition is "so large as to warrant attention," which is the definition of significant.

A second problem is that the opposite of infinite (immeasurable) is finite (measurable), not zero. So attempting to oppose zero and infinite is an unfortunate side-effect of attempting to simplify your definition of negligible.

Conclusion: in the context of measurement, the antonym of negligible is significant.

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    +1. First word that came to my mind was 'conspicuous' but significant is more appropriate still. This should be best answer. – Deepak Jan 17 '15 at 9:19
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One could in many cases use prohibitive.

prohibitive

adjective ...

  1. sufficing to prevent the use, purchase, etc., of something

[ie sufficiently high (often of prices), large ...]

{Dictionary.com}

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Insurmountable is one option, if you mean to say that it is impossible for the person to bike that distance (some may be able to).

For a more aggressive tone, unassailable also works.

Also overwhelming or insuperable.

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The word 'negligible' means insignificant, paltry.

His resources were neglible and so he could not attend college.

The opposite would be 'not neglible,' which would be something akin to

"considerable" or "significant."

He has significant resources and is able to buy the house.

He has considerable resources and is able to buy the house.

  • I also agree with @Robusto. "Substantial" would work. – user106437 Jan 16 '15 at 20:50
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In antonym requests, context is often essential. It would be fairer if the same context were kept for 'negligible' and for the requested opposite. For example, "air resistance is negligible while porridge resistance is ??". And for this particular context, the already proposed 'significant' fits (as well as others, such as 'critical'; okay, I'm stretching it a bit).

Introducing the bike perspective flattens the meaning of 'negligible' in that it makes one think along an axis in terms of distance. That is where measures and infinity jump in, with their own contextual problems. A related post about 'infinitesimal' documents the quandary ('finite' vs. 'infinite' vs. 'infinitesimal', also mentioned by Hunter Hogan here).

What is the opposite of 'blue'? This and like questions may be bent to make some sense, a different sense, or a very particular sense, by a context. In view of the RGB model, for example, the opposite of 'blue' is arguably 'yellow'.

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Incommensurable : (TFD)

  • impossible to measure or compare.

  • incapable of being judged, measured, or considered comparatively.

  • Any quantity, commensurable or incommensurable, can be expressed uniquely as a simple continued fraction, terminating in the case of a commensurable quantity, non-terminating in the case of an incommensurable quantity.
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How about ad infinitum? From Merriam-Webster:

Ad infinitum (adverb or adjective)

without an end or limit

If someone were trying to ride a bike to the other side of the world, he or she would be riding a bike ad infinitum.

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negligible - small enough to essentially be zero

inestimable - so large as to be unmeasurable

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