Week 4

Sense Relations II: Antonymy

ANTONYMY            oppositeness of meaning: ‘X is the opposite of Y’


            = entailment + negation          {X Þ ~ Y}

1. Complementaries (binary pairs)               {Saeed, p. 66}}

          Normally non-gradable opposites;

          between them the pair exhaust all possibilities; i.e. if the one predicate is applicable, the other cannot be.


            (i)        true  :   false

            (ii)       off    : on

            (iii)      same : different

            (iv)      dead : alive

            (v)       male : female

But:     He is more dead than alive

2. Reverses                  {Saeed, p. 67}

          Relation describing movement.

          One term describes movement in one direction and the other the same movement in the other direction

          Also processes that can be reversed


            (i)        push: pull

            (ii)       come: go

            (iii)      up: down


            (iv) inflate/deflate

            (v) expand/contract

            (vi) knit/unravel

3. Converses                           {Saeed, p. 67}

          Describe a relation between two entities from alternate view points.

(i) husband : wife

Hillary is Bill’s wife. Bill is Hilary’s husband

(ii) father : daughter

Bill is Chelsea’s father. Chelsea is Bill’s daughter.

(iii) buy : sell

            If I bought this car from you, then you sold this car to me.

4. Gradable Antonyms: fully ‘gradable’                                 { Saeed, p. 67}

          Opposites where opposite of one term does not imply the negative of the other

          There usually intermediate terms between gradable antonyms

          Usually relative

(i) good : bad

(ii) long : short

(iii) quick : slow

5. Taxonomic sisters (Incompatibles)           {Saeed, p. 68}

          Words at the same level of taxonomy

 (ii) North : South : East : West

(iii) Atlantic : Pacific : Arctic : Antarctic : Indian

(i) green : blue : red … etc., etc.

(iv) pamphlet : journal : booklet : magazine : circular : ____________________



What is the opposite of?

woman :          __________                hot :                 __________

large :             __________                love :               __________

mountain:        __________                married :         __________

friendly:          __________                profound :       ___________

Which ones from these pairs belong to a more/less scale i.e. are gradable antonyms?

Which ones are complementaries?

Which ones are converses?


Think of one more example of:

(a) complementaries.


(b) converse



Name the type of antonymy of each pair

Wet/Dry                      __________

On/Off                        __________

Patient/Doctor             __________

Young/Old                  __________

Predator/Prey              __________

Buy/Sell                      __________

Open/Close                 __________

Easy/Difficult             __________

Yes/No                        __________

Input/Output               __________

Black/White                __________

Come/Go                    __________

Atlantic/Pacific           __________