I am posting on the math exchange something and I gave the context to a math problem, then I went on to explain my problem and my questions. Now I want to go on to tell the explanation for the problem. The opposite of the context. This is the context to my question.

My question is: what is the opposite of context?

The reason why I would like to know this is so that I could describe what this current paragraph is.

closed as unclear what you're asking by Hot Licks, Helmar, curiousdannii, user140086, jimm101 Nov 12 '16 at 18:38

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    Are you using context correctly? As you can see if you follow the link context means the setting or background to a piece of writing or, by extension, a mathematical expression. I find it difficult to think of the opposite of context as a concept, let alone find a word for it, it is like trying to describe the opposite of the environment in which an animal lives. Is it possible that by 'context' you mean the application of a mathematical principle to a problem. The opposite then would be an abstraction? – BoldBen Nov 11 '16 at 0:55
  • Yeah, I agree with Ben -- you misunderstand the meaning of "context". – Hot Licks Nov 11 '16 at 2:18
  • "context means the setting or background to a piece of writing or, by extension, a mathematical expression". Agreed, I now want to refer to, the significance of the result, contemplation of the content, aftermath, things I can build, possible paths, reflection, possible scenarios that can come from the content and its context. – Tsangares Nov 11 '16 at 3:33
  • A section of writing that is optional to the message coming across, but is interesting. It is related to the context and content but is off-topic in the ultimate purpose of the writing. – Tsangares Nov 11 '16 at 3:40
  • An epilogue is the word that comes to mind, but epilogue conveys an image that I am telling a story. – Tsangares Nov 11 '16 at 3:41

In a formal sense, I doubt there is a direct antonym. I would love to be proven wrong, as there are many times when such a word would be useful, as we refer to the lack of context frequently and dictionaries often consider the meanings of words in isolation, yet I have never heard one word that can refer to the concept. The Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition available at thesaurus.com, which as a matter of policy, you probably should've checked prior to asking us, doesn't have one for instance.

The morphologically congruent antonym would be distext, because the con- part of context is a latin wordforming element meaning with or together, whereas dis- is a latin wordforming element meaning separate or apart according to Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary 1913. If you think English should be regarded as a productive language, that seems to be most likely candidate. However there are other considerations.

No such word as distext appears in that edition of Webster's, the entire Oxford English Dictionary., onelook or Google nGrams. Onelook is a dictionary search engine that searches all of the other major dictionaries available online and hence the most reputable of printed dictionaries available at this point in time as well, such as Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language 5th edition, Merriam-Webster, Wiktionary and many more.

As far as cognative transparancy goes, I'm not so sure it would be easily understood either. Most English speakers today percieve the dis- wordforming element as a simple negation, as indicated by the first listed definition in The American Heritage Dictionary Fifth Edition's definition of dis- as meaning "not" which is somewhat different. Whereas context is how a word is considered together with the text, distext might be perceived as trying to say that the word is not text, rather than saying that the word is being considered in isolation or apart from the text.

With no evidence of prior use, it would seem to be be a nonce word or a neologism at best. It doesn't quite serve the purpose of a word if it isn't immediately recognizable too. If the most logical candidate for such a word does not exist in the language, it is doubtful any less likely alternative exists as well.

  • Of course English is a 'productive language'. But if you look up the way that grammarians use 'productive', you'll find it's used as a gradable adjective. The way to check on the acceptability of a [candidate] word is to check in various different respected dictionaries, not check on whether its morphology follows certain patterns. – Edwin Ashworth Nov 12 '16 at 14:42
  • @EdwinAshworth The reason I stated it that way is since I am trying to avoid casting judgement on what other people consider words, since this is not an is-it-a-word question. I am mostly electing a likely candidate, then applying the usual reasons it might be dismissed, like the one you suggest, in order to make my doubts more qualified than simply saying "…because I say so", which I think is essential when a "no such word exists…" answer is given to an S.W.R., since they surely can't just be P.O.B. Do you have a more impartial or accurate phrasing in mind? – Tonepoet Nov 12 '16 at 18:14

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