Suppose I have two words, let's take "true" and "false". "False", is the direct opposite of "truth", and is an antonym of "truth". However, the word I am looking for is not "antonym".

If I was to ask what was the "direct opposite" of "black", the answer would have been "white". What word could have replaced "direct opposite" in this case?

Other examples include "dark" and "light", or "big" to "small". It is true these are antonyms, but these are special antonyms, they are the only ones that are the "equivalent opposites". "big" has other antonyms like "tiny", but "tiny" is the equivalent of "huge". "big"'s equivalent in opposite is "small".

EDIT, The word I am looking for has the meaning of "opposite match"


try antithesis

  1. Direct contrast; opposition.
  2. The direct or exact opposite
  • +1, one can argue that it is always contextual, but the word does exist. kudos. – Unreason May 27 '11 at 9:29
  • 2
    I agree that it works for true and false, but it sounds awfully strange to say "big is the antithesis of small." – Kit Z. Fox May 27 '11 at 11:53
  • @Kit now that you've written it, it looks strange; maybe "awfully" but I'm not yet sure ;) – Paul Amerigo Pajo May 28 '11 at 3:34
  • 1
    My question "Antithesis of International" – Thursagen May 29 '11 at 9:55
  • 1
    Antithesis is the opposite of a thesis. If the thing you're comparing against can't be characterised as a thesis (maybe metaphorically speaking), then antithesis probably isn't the right choice of word. – slim Dec 20 '11 at 10:44

I don't think you'll find such a single word, apart from… antonym.

True and false are antonyms, and so are black and white (listed as such in the New Oxford American Dictionary and other sources). You can look for synonyms of antonym, but the lists given (opposite, reverse) do not include anything that seems relevant to what you search (so you're a bit unclear).

  • 1
    I told you I'm not looking for an antonym! – Thursagen May 27 '11 at 7:56
  • @Third Idiot: please give a better example; white is an antonym of black, so antonym really fits your question. In addition, the crux of my answer is that there is no single word term for this. – F'x May 27 '11 at 8:06
  • 1
    it seems pageman managed to find a single word – Unreason May 27 '11 at 9:28

The idiomatic term is "diametric opposite." I don't believe there is a single word for this.

  • there is - it's antithesis - noun. A proposition that is the diametric opposite of some other proposition. – Paul Amerigo Pajo May 27 '11 at 9:21
  • 1
    Ooh! Good word! It had completely slipped my mind! – James McLeod May 27 '11 at 15:42

How about inverse? As an adjective: Opposite or contrary in position, direction, order, or effect. As a noun: Something that is the opposite or reverse of something else.


Converse or counterpart if the context so requires.


In logic, you'd call it "contradiction". See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Square_of_opposition

  • 1
    You can't say, "What is the contradiction of "black"?" People wouldn't get you. – Thursagen May 27 '11 at 21:50
  • 1
    You could say it, just to be contrary. :P – JeffSahol May 28 '11 at 0:44

You tend to use direct opposite in terms of location

"His house is directly opposite mine"

Otherwise the word opposite by definition means what you're asking for.

Other words don't match in all cases such as reverse or contrary, opposite itself seems the universal one.


antipode or antipodal would suit this

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