• synonyms


noun Rhetoric.
  1. the use of a word in a sense opposite to its proper meaning.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for antiphrasis

Historical Examples

  • Instances of antiphrasis in the names given to black slaves are very common.

    The Thousand and One Nights, Vol. I.


  • 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


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

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.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper