I'm looking for a nice, elegant word to describe the part where/extent to which things don't overlap.

"Discongruity"/"discongruence"/"incongruity"/"incongruence"/"complementation"/"complementarity" get sort of close, but I'd like other ideas. (The tighter the relationship with "overlap," the better!)

Note that words like "exclude" add meaning undesirably. "Diverge"/"differ" are not as specific as I'd like.


"A group which [---]s completely with/to the other group" (i.e., "has no members in common with" from within a broader group to which they both belong).

"The [---] between this concept and the other is" (i.e., the part that not only differs between the groups, but specifically differs in the manner of "sticking out" from one group in one way and the other in another.)

  • What are you trying to describe
    – Insane
    Commented Dec 9, 2015 at 1:02
  • "There is no overlap" is as close as I can get to a "tight relationship with 'overlap.'" Otherwise, are you talking about "proximity"? Commented Dec 9, 2015 at 1:05
  • 3
    Perhaps, “A group which is completely disjoint*...’
    – Jim
    Commented Dec 9, 2015 at 2:12
  • The selected answer does not "describe the part where" or "the extent to which things don't overlap". Just an observation. That answer also has no bearing on "a broader group to which they both belong".
    – JEL
    Commented Dec 9, 2015 at 20:30

4 Answers 4


What you have is two sets that are disjoint: they have no elements in common.

If you are talking about spatial regions, you can also say that the regions are not contiguous, or discontiguous, which means that they do not touch (overlap).

  • "A group which is completely disjoint from the other group" means precisely that the two groups have no members in common.

(I don't understand your second example, in particular "sticking out from one group in one way and the other in another.")


Separate, mutually exclusive, nonintersecting...

Perhaps you should give more context or an example sentence? I'm not sure how you are using the word/phrase.


If you need to be very precise, there's always nonoverlapping:

adj. that does not overlap

(Collins Dictionary)


The standard verbal antonyms of 'overlap' (verb) include

Standard nominal antonyms of 'overlap' (noun) include

  • divide or division (something that divides or keeps apart, Collins)
  • separation (an interval or space that separates; a gap, American Heritage)
  • underlap (Geol. the fact or state of underlapping Obs. rare OED Online)

Beyond those antonyms, things get messy because the sense of 'overlap' might be more exactly expressed with another term than 'overlap'. Sticking to nouns in order to simplify the domain, examples of such synonymous terms paired with possible antonyms might include

  • overlay | underlay
  • intersection | disjunction
  • join | gap
  • connection | disconnection
  • correspondence | difference, disagreement
  • similarity | difference, dissimilarity
  • commonality | exceptionality
  • etc.

Other senses of 'overlap', in context, might take other antonyms.

So, the best antonyms for 'overlap' in your context examples might be these:

Example 1.

A group which contrasts completely with the other group.
A group which varies completely from the other group.

Example 2.

The discrepancy between this concept and the other is ....
The discordancy between this concept and the other is ....

The antonyms I've chosen for your examples depend on my understanding of what the exact meaning of 'overlap' in the contexts provided might be.

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