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
    Commented Nov 17, 2011 at 16:20
  • 1
    why not? I mean if "advice against" is acceptable, so should "not recommend".
    – picakhu
    Commented Nov 17, 2011 at 16:29
  • 2
    I vote for a new word: decommend. :-)
    – Chris
    Commented Nov 17, 2011 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." Commented Nov 18, 2011 at 8:59
  • 2
    thesaurus.com/browse/recommend Commented Nov 18, 2011 at 16:41

16 Answers 16


I would suggest “advise against.”

  • 6
    +1 I would suggest against not using "advise against" :)
    – Terry Li
    Commented Nov 17, 2011 at 21:45
  • 3
    @TerryLiYifeng Well, I would advise against not using 'advise against'. Commented Nov 18, 2011 at 6:13
  • I would again devise your suggestion.
    – Ben Lee
    Commented Mar 3, 2012 at 2:04
  • 1
    Missed opportunity: I would recommend "advise against."
    – Ben
    Commented Mar 18, 2013 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).

  • 16
    I think "dissuade" is a pretty good choice.
    – LarsTech
    Commented Nov 17, 2011 at 16:34
  • 8
    Depending on the exact context, I think that discourage and dissuade could fit the bill.
    – Bjorn
    Commented Nov 17, 2011 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
    Commented Nov 17, 2011 at 20:54
  • 2
    @Lynn To me, "I discourage the blue sweater" sounds perfectly cromulent.
    – fluffy
    Commented Nov 17, 2011 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
    Commented Nov 18, 2011 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. :) Commented Nov 17, 2011 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
    Commented Nov 17, 2011 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
    Commented Nov 17, 2011 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 :) Commented Nov 18, 2011 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. Commented Nov 18, 2011 at 14:19

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

  • 3
    great minds, and all that... Commented Nov 17, 2011 at 16:04
  • 3
    Fun at restaurants too; The Pad Thai here is deprecated. Recommend the Pad-See-Ew instead
    – Warren P
    Commented Nov 17, 2011 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
    Commented Nov 17, 2011 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. Commented Nov 17, 2011 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
    Commented Nov 18, 2011 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
    Commented Nov 17, 2011 at 17:42
  • 6
    Agreed it's very odd in this "bare" form. But "I would discourage you from..." is quite common. Commented Nov 17, 2011 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"



I recommend that answer. | That answer is recommended.


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." Commented Nov 18, 2011 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 :) Commented Nov 17, 2011 at 17:55
  • 3
    -1. Should be community wiki, or a comment, rather. Commented Nov 18, 2011 at 6:15

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])

  • 1
    "proscribe" is what I needed, thanks! It can be contrasted against "prescribe", like "The doctor prescribes arrowroot" (you should eat arrowroot) vs. "The doctor proscribes arrowroot" (you should not eat arrowroot)
    – Bill Mei
    Commented Mar 2, 2019 at 0:53

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
    Commented Nov 18, 2011 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
    Commented Nov 18, 2011 at 14:57

How about simply "recommend against"

I recommend against doing so


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. Commented Mar 11, 2016 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
    Commented May 8, 2018 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! Commented May 9, 2018 at 1:26

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