What's the antonym of recommend? For example:

I recommend that item!

I tried to use unrecommend, but the spell-checker throws an error and it sounds stupid as well!

  • 4
    what happened to the good old "not recommend"? – picakhu Nov 17 '11 at 16:20
  • 1
    why not? I mean if "advice against" is acceptable, so should "not recommend". – picakhu Nov 17 '11 at 16:29
  • 2
    I vote for a new word: decommend. :-) – Chris Dwyer Nov 17 '11 at 16:51
  • 2
    Technically speaking I think the antonym of recommend is "no opinion on that". In common usage a recommendation can be positive or negative "The committee recommends not purchasing a chocolate teapot." – James Anderson Nov 18 '11 at 8:59
  • 2
    thesaurus.com/browse/recommend – Jake Berger Nov 18 '11 at 16:41

16 Answers 16

up vote 61 down vote accepted

I would suggest “advise against.”

  • 6
    +1 I would suggest against not using "advise against" :) – Terry Li Nov 17 '11 at 21:45
  • 3
    @TerryLiYifeng Well, I would advise against not using 'advise against'. – Mateen Ulhaq Nov 18 '11 at 6:13
  • I would again devise your suggestion. – Ben Lee Mar 3 '12 at 2:04
  • 1
    Missed opportunity: I would recommend "advise against." – Ben Mar 18 '13 at 20:53

M-W dictionary lists no antonyms.

Dictionary.com lists: disapprove, discourage, dissuade but I don't think those really fit as direct antonyms.

Usually in my experience you'd say recommend against.

---Update to add--- As FumbleFingers mentioned in a comment, advise against is an equally valid alternative (and seemingly more popular in British English, as this NGram would suggest).

  • 15
    I think "dissuade" is a pretty good choice. – LarsTech Nov 17 '11 at 16:34
  • 8
    Depending on the exact context, I think that discourage and dissuade could fit the bill. – Bjorn Nov 17 '11 at 18:16
  • 3
    @Lars and Bjorn: Depending on context, yes, but in a sentence: "I recommend the blue sweater" you could not directly substitute: "I discourage the blue sweater" or "I dissuade the blue sweater". That is why I believe it is not a true antonym, though it can be used to convey a similar idea. – Lynn Nov 17 '11 at 20:54
  • 2
    @Lynn To me, "I discourage the blue sweater" sounds perfectly cromulent. – fluffy Nov 17 '11 at 23:52
  • 2
    @fluffy: I would say, "I discourage you from wearing the blue sweater." which is subtly different. But to each his own! :) – Lynn Nov 18 '11 at 3:02

Strictly speaking, discommend is the antonym, although it doesn't work in all contexts, and has become nearly obsolete.

I agree with @breen that advise against is the modern antonym phrase.

  • 6
    Nice find! "Discommend" is an excellent word - it sounds as funny as "unpossible", but it's legitimate. And it's clearer to say "I discommend X" than "I don't recommend X", because the latter could mean I'm neutral on the matter. I say let's bring it back. :) – Nathan Long Nov 17 '11 at 16:31
  • 2
    @NathanLong good point re: the neutrality of "I don't recommend"… I agree, we should rescue this word from obscurity! Letting this word fade into obscurity is discommendable! – ghoppe Nov 17 '11 at 16:36
  • 1
    By the way, I found the Google Ngram of discommend, and linked sample uses fascinating! It appears to have dropped out of use in the last half of the 1800s. – ghoppe Nov 17 '11 at 23:20
  • 2
    I really want to use this word for the sole purpose of being able to prove certain people wrong when they try to tell me it's not a word :) – Brandon Moore Nov 18 '11 at 2:14
  • 1
    @Brandon Moore: On that basis, you could also use discountenance, disesteem, and disfavor. But don't blame me if you get accused of being a pretentious prat. – FumbleFingers Nov 18 '11 at 14:19

In technical computer manuals we use the word "deprecate".

  • 3
    great minds, and all that... – FumbleFingers Nov 17 '11 at 16:04
  • 3
    Fun at restaurants too; The Pad Thai here is deprecated. Recommend the Pad-See-Ew instead – Warren P Nov 17 '11 at 19:58
  • 2
    "deprecate" does also have the additional meaning of "this isn't guaranteed to work in the future, stop using it now and get used to the correct alternative". So it's more a subset of the answer... Still, +1 because I see it so often (x_x) – Izkata Nov 17 '11 at 21:03
  • 2
    @Izkata: I think it's fair to say that "additional meaning" is specifically the meaning applicable in the computer sense. But the broader meaning was always there long before the word was co-opted by geekspeak, and just because it's fallen into obscurity because of confusion with "depreciate" is no reason why it can't come back into more general use. After all, discommend is even rarer and more archaic, and that's currently the top-rated answer. – FumbleFingers Nov 17 '11 at 23:16
  • 1
    @FumbleFingers I would argue that the new meaning of "deprecate" would make it simply confusing if used outside of the context of the new meaning, while "discommend" doesn't have that problem, because it's fallen out of use instead of having evolved with the language. – Izkata Nov 18 '11 at 0:21

discourage fits somewhat, but not by itself.

"I discourage you from using that item."

  • This use of discourage sounds odd to me. – z7sg Ѫ Nov 17 '11 at 17:42
  • 6
    Agreed it's very odd in this "bare" form. But "I would discourage you from..." is quite common. – FumbleFingers Nov 17 '11 at 17:45

As @breen and others have said, the standard phrasing for the opposite of I recommend is probably I advise against.

But if you're not really interested in specifying who advises against something, you might consider deprecate - to express earnest disapproval of. Saying something is deprecated is standard terminology in the context of software components/methods, but there's no reason why it couldn't be used more widely.

Usage for deprecated was declining before its recent revival in computing, probably because of overlap with depreciate. But for the time being I'd stick with the past particple, and avoid, for example, "I deprecate that course of action".

I would suggest "caution against."

"I recommended against that item"

Upvote:

I recommend that answer. | That answer is recommended.

Downvote:

I advise against that answer. | That answer is ill-advised.

Frankly, I'm surprised that no one has suggested deplore. While I concur with many of the other answers, I would not encourage, advocate, urge, esteem, or prescribe their use.

How about,

  • I disapprove of this item
  • I discourage using this item
  • I dissuade using this item
  • I think "dissuade" is normally transitive. You should mention who you are dissuading. "I dissuade you from using this item." Even then, it sound presumptuous that you would be successful. "I would dissuade people from using this item." or "I'd try to dissuade you from using this item." – Oddthinking Nov 18 '11 at 11:16

Come on, upvote means recommend while downvote means the opposite!

So please recommend my answer to the OP simply means upvote my answer please!

Just for fun :)

  • 2
    Simplest yet most insightful answer ever!!! Good job, Terry :) – Leaf Shadow Nov 17 '11 at 17:55
  • 3
    -1. Should be community wiki, or a comment, rather. – Mateen Ulhaq Nov 18 '11 at 6:15

disapprove, discourage, dissuade

Those are the words, now you must know in which situation each should be used.

  • It would help if you could examples of each being in use. – Hugo Nov 18 '11 at 8:52
  • ok, for example the first one disapprove/discourage "I recomend the use of drugs" it would be "I disapprove/discourage the use of drugs" don't have in mind a phrase for the last one English isn't my language, I speak portuguese – alculete Nov 18 '11 at 14:57

How about simply "recommend against"

I recommend against doing so

Ye who arrived here as I did, hunting antonyms for this word on google, perhaps consider also:

  • condemn - express complete disapproval of, typically in public
  • censure - express severe disapproval of, typically in a formal statement.
  • denounce - publicly declare to be wrong or evil.
  • decry - publicly denounce [so... denounce, then?]
  • criticize - indicate the faults of, in a disapproving way.
  • vilify - speak or write about in an abusively disparaging manner.
  • deprecate - express disapproval of. [Suggested by others]
  • proscribe - 1) forbid, especially by law. 2) denounce or condemn.
  • disparage - regard or represent as being of little worth.

(All definitions from Google's define command, with my italics to highlight main differences in usage, and my [comments])

I would simply negate recommend into do not recommend

eg: I recommend x. I do not reccomend y.

  • "do not recommend" describes the absence of recommendation. This is not the same as advising against something, which is the opposite of recommending it. – GreenAsJade Mar 11 '16 at 23:14
  • @GreenAsJade Technically you are correct, but in everyday speak, saying “I do not recommend it” is an advisement against it. Never have I heard someone say “I don’t recommend something” when they mean they simply don’t have an opinion on it. Possibly, they might say “I don’t necessarily recommend it.” – chharvey May 8 at 13:11
  • Coming back to this now, I agree with you. I'm not sure why I didn't see it that way a year ago! – GreenAsJade May 9 at 1:26

protected by waiwai933 Nov 18 '11 at 7:30

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

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