I would like to know if there is a good adjective that can be used to describe two things that represent opposites. E.g.

Anorexia and bulimia are two [INSERT WORD HERE] examples of eating disorders.

Or maybe something less controversial:

Two [INSERT WORD HERE] examples of colours are black and white...

Words that could make sense would be "polar" or "antipodal", but I am not sure if they can be used in this context.

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    I'd use "extreme": anorexia and bigorexia are two extreme examples of eating disorders. Extreme: at the furthest point, especially from the centre. dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/extreme – user66974 Oct 26 '16 at 10:43
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    Thanks! I would actually like to stress more that they are opposites rather that they are extreme, if that makes sense. I edited the question accordingly. – Matthias Schmidtblaicher Oct 26 '16 at 10:48
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    'Opposite' (as you imply) and 'antonymic' don't sit well here, because the whole notion of 'oppositeness' is very complex. I think you're stuck with 'at opposite ends of the continuum' (where the continuum involved is easily recoverable). – Edwin Ashworth Oct 26 '16 at 10:51
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    You may use antithetical: directly opposite or opposed - merriam-webster.com/dictionary/antithetical – user66974 Oct 26 '16 at 10:52
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    Their is no "oppositeness" here at all. The example is poor because just because in one you binge eat and in the other you don't eat doesn't mean they are "opposites" medically speaking. They are only opposites semantically. The example is not good. – Lambie Oct 26 '16 at 14:05

I think diametric (or, as it is often used, "diametrically opposed") may serve your purpose:

2: completely opposed : being at opposite extremes
that husband and wife have seemingly diametric personalities, but somehow their marriage works
from Merriam-webster.com

  • Thank you everyone for the suggestions! I think I go with "diametric" / "diametrically opposed" in the end. – Matthias Schmidtblaicher Oct 26 '16 at 16:29

To signify that two things are on completely opposite sides of something else, the phrase diametrically opposite is used. In your example, anorexia and bulimia are on completely opposite sides of normal eating.

anorexia and bulimia are two diametrically opposite examples of eating disorders


diametrically opposite

: completely different : They grew up in diametrically opposite environments.


The word you are looking for is, I think, complementary. While it has various meanings,

either of two parts or things needed to complete the whole; counterpart.

seems appropriate.


Anorexia and bulimia are two contradictory examples of eating disorders.

  • How are they contradictory?? I don't see how this is a good fit at all. – Hellion Oct 26 '16 at 14:49

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