[ an-tif-ruh-sis ]
/ ænˈtɪf rə sɪs /

noun Rhetoric.

the use of a word in a sense opposite to its proper meaning.

Nearby words

  1. antiphon,
  2. antiphonal,
  3. antiphonary,
  4. antiphonic,
  5. antiphony,
  6. antiphus,
  7. antiplasmin,
  8. antiplastic,
  9. antipodal,
  10. antipode

Origin of antiphrasis

1525–35; < Latin < Greek, derivative of antiphrázein to speak the opposite (anti- anti- + phrázein to speak); see phrase, sis

Related formsan·ti·phras·tic [an-ti-fras-tik] /ˌæn tɪˈfræs tɪk/, an·ti·phras·ti·cal, adjectivean·ti·phras·ti·cal·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for antiphrasis

  • The friend who presented me with him had given him, perhaps by antiphrasis, the startling name of Pelléas.

    Our Friend the Dog|Maurice Maeterlinck

British Dictionary definitions for antiphrasis


/ (ænˈtɪfrəsɪs) /


rhetoric the use of a word in a sense opposite to its normal one, esp for ironic effect

Word Origin for antiphrasis

C16: via Late Latin from Greek, from anti- + phrasis, from phrazein to speak

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for antiphrasis



1530s, from Latin antiphrasis, from Greek antiphrasis, from antiphrazein "to express (something) by the opposite," from anti- (see anti-) + phrazein "to consider, to express" (see phrase (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper