[ an-tith-uh-sis ]
See synonyms for antithesis on
noun,plural an·tith·e·ses [an-tith-uh-seez]. /ænˈtɪθ əˌsiz/.
  1. opposition; contrast: the antithesis of right and wrong.

  2. the direct opposite (usually followed by of or to): Her behavior was the very antithesis of cowardly.

  1. Rhetoric.

    • the placing of a sentence or one of its parts against another to which it is opposed to form a balanced contrast of ideas, as in “Give me liberty or give me death.”

    • the second sentence or part thus set in opposition, as “or give me death.”

  2. Philosophy. See under Hegelian dialectic.

Origin of antithesis

First recorded in 1520–30; from Latin, from Greek: “opposition,” from anti(ti)thé(nai) “to oppose” + -sis -sis; equivalent to anti- + thesis

Other words for antithesis

Other words from antithesis

  • self-an·tith·e·sis, noun

Words that may be confused with antithesis

Words Nearby antithesis Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use antithesis in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for antithesis


/ (ænˈtɪθɪsɪs) /

nounplural -ses (-ˌsiːz)
  1. the exact opposite

  2. contrast or opposition

  1. rhetoric the juxtaposition of contrasting ideas, phrases, or words so as to produce an effect of balance, such as my words fly up, my thoughts remain below

  2. philosophy the second stage in the Hegelian dialectic contradicting the thesis before resolution by the synthesis

Origin of antithesis

C15: via Latin from Greek: a setting against, from anti- + tithenai to place

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