-5

The word "stronger" means simply having more strength than, however when saying A is stronger than B, it does not imply that B is not strong just that A has more strength (B is strong but A is stronger). Therefore I am looking for the true antonym for this, in that I would like to say that B has less strength than A but is not necessarily weak. I don't really like "weaker" as an antonym because it implies that the subject is weak, when they may not be.

Eg. Consider the difference between superman and batman; saying superman is stronger than batman seems fine, but saying batman is weaker than superman to me seems to imply that batman is weak, which is not the case since compared to an average person he is very strong, he just has much less strength than superman.

  • 5
    'stronger' does not imply strong, just as 'weaker' does not imply weak. – loonquawl Jun 27 at 12:47
  • 2
    Anyway there's always "less strong" if you want to steer clear of "weak" – Chris H Jun 27 at 13:03
  • 2
    As you allude to, the terms stronger and weaker are strictly relative. Is Batman weak? Not in any kind of absolute sense. However, strictly compared to Superman, he is. This is true with any superlative. Is our sun small? Certainly not, when compared with any other object in our solar system. However, when compared with other stars that are 100 times larger, it's minuscule. If you don't want to use the term "weaker", you can simply say "less strong", or otherwise clarify your position: Batman is weaker than Superman, but still strong. or Batman is less strong than Superman. – Zack Jun 27 at 13:19
  • @Zack this is great, please change this comment into an answer and I will accept it. – FrontEnd Jun 27 at 14:10
  • The problem with the superhero example is that both are 'strong', so stronger sounds fine but weaker doesn't. If you used examples that are both weak (say Punyman and Fatman, if you'll excuse the choice of rhyme), then it would sound odd to say that Punyman is stronger than Fatman, but it would sound fine to say that Fatman is weaker than Punyman. – Lawrence Jun 27 at 14:18
2

As you allude to, the terms stronger and weaker are strictly relative. Is Batman weak? Not in any kind of absolute sense. However, strictly compared to Superman, he is. This is true with any superlative. Is our sun small? Certainly not, when compared with any other object in our solar system. However, when compared with other stars that are 100 times larger, it's minuscule.

If you don't want to use the term "weaker", you can simply say "less strong", or otherwise clarify your position:

Batman is weaker than Superman, but still strong.

or

Batman is less strong than Superman.

3

Batman is not as strong as superman.

Purists might object that the correct form is

Batman is not so strong as superman.

but this is rather old-fashioned.

  • i’ve never heard that “as strong as” might be objectionable to purists. – Jim Jun 27 at 14:44
  • 1
    @Jim: Perhaps I'm just showing my age, and all the purists who used to object to it have died. When I was at school, 50 years ago, we were taught that a negative comparison must use not so...as instead of not as...as. Looking around on the Internet, it seems that nobody insists on this rule any more. – TonyK Jun 27 at 14:58
  • I was at school 40 years ago and taught English by a pedantic Cambridge graduate (England, not Massachusetts). He never mentioned any such rule. – Andrew Leach Jun 27 at 19:27
  • @AndrewLeach: Ach, you youngsters... – TonyK Jun 27 at 20:15

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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