Origin of opposite

1350–1400; Middle English < Middle French < Latin oppositus, past participle of oppōnere to set against. See oppose, -ite2
Related formsop·po·site·ly, adverbop·po·site·ness, nounsub·op·po·site, adjectivesub·op·po·site·ly, adverbsub·op·po·site·ness, noun

Synonyms for opposite

Synonym study

2. Opposite, contrary, reverse imply that two things differ from each other in such a way as to indicate a definite kind of relationship. Opposite suggests symmetrical antithesis in position, action, or character: opposite ends of a pole, sides of a road, views. Contrary sometimes adds to opposite the idea of conflict or antagonism: contrary statements, beliefs. Reverse suggests something that faces or moves in the opposite direction: the reverse side of a coin; a reverse gear.

Antonyms for opposite

2. same, like.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for opposites

Contemporary Examples of opposites

Historical Examples of opposites

  • Perhaps it was some law of opposites, and she needed some one of lighter nature than her own.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • France and Germany appear to us as opposites and irreconcilables.

    Mountain Meditations

    L. Lind-af-Hageby

  • And to the class of opposites belong assent and dissent, desire and avoidance.

  • Then we are to say that the greatest friendship is of opposites?



  • But, consider:—Are not the absolute same, and the absolute other, opposites to one another?

British Dictionary definitions for opposites



situated or being on the other side or at each side of something betweentheir houses were at opposite ends of the street
facing or going in contrary directionsopposite ways
diametrically different in character, tendency, belief, etcopposite views
  1. (of leaves, flowers, etc) arranged in pairs on either side of the stem
  2. (of parts of a flower) arranged opposite the middle of another part
  1. (of two vertices or sides in an even-sided polygon) separated by the same number of vertices or sides in both a clockwise and anticlockwise direction
  2. (of a side in a triangle) facing a specified angleAbbreviation: opp


a person or thing that is opposite; antithesis
maths the side facing a specified angle in a right-angled triangle
a rare word for opponent


Also: opposite to facing; corresponding to (something on the other side of a division)the house opposite ours
as a co-star withshe played opposite Olivier in ``Hamlet''


on opposite sidesshe lives opposite
Derived Formsoppositely, adverboppositeness, noun
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 opposites



late 14c., "placed on the other side of (something)," from Old French oposite "opposite, contrary" (13c.), from Latin oppositus "standing against, opposed, opposite," past participle of opponere "set against" (see opponent). Meaning "contrary in nature or character" is from 1570s. As a noun from late 14c. As a preposition from 1758. As an adverb from 1817. Related: Oppositely.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

opposites in Science



Arranged as one of a pair on either side of a stem or twig. Maple and ash trees have opposite leaves. Compare alternate.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.