I'm learning the Indonesian language, and they took the word 'antonim' from Dutch (antonym in English), but changed and expanded the meaning. In Indonesian, 'green' is an antonym of 'yellow' and 'February' is an antonym of 'January'. Which surprised me, but also got me thinking that I don't know how these words are related to each other in other languages, English in particular, and if there is a word for that. I figured maybe 'categories' but that sounds a bit oversimplified. Is there even a word to describe these sets of groups?

  • 2
    Can you link to a reputable source which gives this definition for "antonim" in Indonesian. A quick Google search does not seem to give anything.
    – dubious
    Feb 1, 2022 at 13:20
  • @dubious I'm not sure about reputable, but there are various Indonesian sites explaining the concept, such as merdeka.com/pendidikan/…, gramedia.com/literasi/antonim-dan-sinonim or bahassemua.com/contoh-antonim. I am afraid this kind of information is usually not found in English sites. Feb 1, 2022 at 14:48
  • Thank you for the links. Following those it seems that this is not unique to Indonesian and one category of antonyms or semantic opposites is mutually exclusive words. I edited my answer to include the new information.
    – dubious
    Feb 1, 2022 at 15:39
  • 2
    In other words, you are asking whether there is a compact term for a word that shares the same proximate hypernym with the given word.
    – jsw29
    Feb 1, 2022 at 16:49

5 Answers 5


The closest term seems to be disjoint opposites which is indeed a category of antonyms:

"disjoint opposites (or "incompatibles"), members of a set which are mutually exclusive but which leave a lexical gap unfilled, such as "red" and "blue," "one" and "ten," or "monday" and "friday.""

These groupings could be:

  1. co-hyponyms

"If the hypernym Z consists of hyponyms X and Y, X and Y are identified as co-hyponyms. [...] [7] For example, screwdriver, scissors, knife, and hammer are all co-hyponyms of one another and hyponyms of tool ..."

  1. A contrast set

"A contrast set is a bounded collection of items, each of which could fill the same slot in a given schema, syntactic structure, or other linguistic environment. The seven days of the week, the fifty United States, the eight Hawaiian islands, the letters in the alphabet, the categories "male" and "female," the students in a class, or the flavors on offer at an ice cream store are all examples of contrast sets."

  • Interesting to see that antonyms can actually be used in the same way in English according to the last edit Feb 1, 2022 at 16:50

I would say antonim's English counterpart is... counterpart. It's a word used to describe things of the same ilk.

Here's an example for colors:

Pink. What's not to love? Essentially a lighter hue of its counterpart red. — Buildher Collective

And for fruit:

Its easy to get caught up in the Fall apple craze, but don't forget about their seasonal counterpart - pears! — Blue Apron

However, in many cases I would just say something like "January is just another month like February", which uses the hypernym ("month").


In formal mathematical terms, January and February are elements of the set of months.

In mathematics, an element (or member) of a set is any one of the distinct objects that belong to that set.

Also on Wikipedia-

In mathematics, a set is a collection of elements.

These terms are also commonly used in their very strict sense, in the IT world.

  • I think that OP wants a word describing the elements' relationship to each other. For example, in Indonesian January is apparently an "antonym" of February. However, in English January is not an "element" of February. Mar 11, 2022 at 3:30

In philosophical english the term genus is used to describe things that have somethimg in common in the most general sense. It's also used in zoological english in a particular way to describe phylogenetically related species.

  • I can see that 'genus' is used for the group of items, but is there a term for the -members- of this group?
    – Mitch
    Feb 1, 2022 at 15:29
  • @Mitch: In philosophical english, the term species is used. This is presumably why we have the same two terms in zoological english and the analogous relationship between them. Feb 1, 2022 at 15:32
  • So you're saying 'months' is a genus and individual months like January or February are species. And to answer the OP, what is the name of the relationship between species (or genus members), what is the name of the relationship between January and February? Something like 'sibling species'?
    – Mitch
    Feb 1, 2022 at 15:42
  • Possibly. I'd say, species of the same genus. Feb 1, 2022 at 15:58
  • 1
    The OP is indeed looking for a term for a species of the same genus (not genus itself ), but seems to be hoping for a single word, or, at least, something more compact than species of the same genus.
    – jsw29
    Feb 1, 2022 at 16:48

From Google Dictionary:

hypernym /ˈhʌɪpənɪm/


a word with a broad meaning constituting a category into which words with more specific meanings fall; a superordinate. For example, colour is a hypernym of red.

The antonym is

hyponym /ˈhʌɪpə(ʊ)nɪm/


a word of more specific meaning than a general or superordinate term applicable to it. For example, spoon is a hyponym of cutlery.

PS, I think your book has got it wrong:

antonym /ˈantənɪm/

a word opposite in meaning to another (e.g. bad and good ).

  • 3
    I don't think this answers the question. I'm not looking for the word to describe the relationship between the word color and red, or spoon and cutlery, but rather the word red to green and yellow. Also the book doesn't have it wrong, like I stated the Indonesian language changed the meaning of the word antonym. They borrowed the word, but that doesn't mean they have to keep the same meaning entirely. Feb 1, 2022 at 13:13
  • 1
    I stated the Indonesian language changed the meaning of the word antonym. I am at a loss as to why you bothered mentioning it then. The other point is that red, green, yellow are all hyponyms: parts of a larger group.
    – Greybeard
    Feb 1, 2022 at 16:49

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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