Opposites Attract

Unless you're opposed to the idea, we suggest that you don't not learn these words. They come in particularly handy on January 25th, National Opposite Day.

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definitions & notes only words
  1. contradictory
    not able to be true at the same time
    In “1984”, George Orwell coined the term “doublethink”, the ability to believe two contradictory things.Economist (Jan 18, 2018)
    If I said, “I will never eat another pizza again. I renounce all pizza!” while eating a pizza, my words and actions are contradictory. They’re opposed: they contradict each other. Most people don’t like to be contradicted, especially people in authority. If a teacher tells you the moon mission left behind a colony of robot dinosaurs, they probably won’t like it if you say, “Um, that doesn’t sound right.” Also, that teacher should be fired.
  2. antagonistic
    characterized by feelings of intense dislike or hostility
    “This includes expression of ideas that are deeply unpopular, offensive to many in our community, contrary to research-based understandings, and antagonistic to University tenets.”Washington Post (Oct 20, 2017)
    Antagonistic things are opposed to each other. Antagonistic muscles are literally opposed, like the bicep and tricep. An antagonistic remark is not just a contradiction, but a hostile one. A related word is often used when discussing fiction. In a movie, TV show, book, or other story, the main character is the protagonist. The person who opposes them—often a villain of some sort—is the antagonist. Think Valdemort or Kylo Ren.
  3. antithetical
    sharply contrasted in character or purpose
    Racism is evil; it is antithetical to America’s values.Washington Post (Aug 18, 2017)
    Antithetical things are opposed, usually in terms of ideas or beliefs. If you’re a firefighter, it would be antithetical to your values to let a house burn. For some people, religion and science are antithetical. This word is related to thesis, as in thesis statement, which is the argument of a paper, usually stated in one clear sentence. The thesis is the point of your essay and anything that goes against that point would be antithetical.
  4. contrary
    exact opposition
    When the team peered into the brittlestar’s body, they saw that the nerve bundles ran between, rather than below, the crystal structures — contrary to what they expected.Nature (Jan 23, 2018)
    Things that are complimentary go together well, like peanut butter and waffles—er, jelly. But things that are contrary don’t go together well at all. If you had a house full of Christmas decorations in July, they would be contrary to the calendar. If you went to a funeral and were smiling and giggling, your behavior would be contrary to the solemnity of the occasion. When someone is about to propose an opposite point of view, they often start by saying, “On the contrary!”
  5. polar
    characterized by opposite extremes
    First off, Leia’s comic book features two heroines who are “kinda like sisters,” but polar opposites in demeanor: Violet and Violence.Washington Post (Jul 11, 2017)
    This word can mean chilly or frigid, just like the North and South poles, or it can take another meaning from the farthest reaches of the globe: opposite. If you’re on the North Pole, you can’t get farther away than the South Pole, unless you go to Mars, which is even less hospitable than the East Coast in winter. People often speak of polar opposites, such as horse manure and ice cream or politics and honesty.
  6. paradoxical
    seemingly contradictory but nonetheless possibly true
    Although the story features paradoxical world rules and raving characters, fundamentally this is a classic hero’s quest.Washington Post (Jan 9, 2018)
    A paradox is a statement or situation that says two things at once: it contradicts itself in some way, often to state a deeper truth. So a paradoxical notion contains its own opposite. The fact that life can seem long and short at the same time is a paradox. Many Zen koans—short riddles that are used in Buddhist meditation—are paradoxical. One asks, “What was your face before your mother and father were born?” Puzzle over that paradox too long, and you might be come enlightened or dizzy.
  7. inverse
    opposite in nature or effect or relation to another quantity
    It’s almost the inverse of her role in Mad Max: Fury Road: she starts in control of the situation, then fights to maintain that control.The Verge (Jul 25, 2017)
    Things that have an inverse relationship are not on the same page: well, they might literally be on the same page, but they’re moving in opposite directions. If cold weather and economic growth have an inverse relationship, then as temperatures get frigid, the economy heats up. Eating chocolate cake every day and losing weight have an inverse relationship. The opposite of inverse is direct.
  8. contraindicate
    suggest that something (e.g., a treatment) is inadvisable
    And most doctors, along with Light, the CDC, and the NFID, recommend that everyone over the age of 6 months, barring a contraindicated medical condition, get the flu shot every year.Los Angeles Times (Oct 14, 2017)
    Another contra word, this one is mostly found in the world of medicine. Doctors talk about symptoms and diseases that contraindicate medicines and treatments. For example, if you’re allergic to Penicillin, that would certainly contraindicate taking any Penicillin. The root of this word, indicate, is more straightforward. If someone is yelling “Help!” then that indicates they’re in need of some assistance. You can also talk about indications and contraindications.
  9. countermand
    a contrary command reversing a previous command
    The provisional government, already largely powerless, spent that time ordering extra troops into Petrograd, while the Bolshevik commissars set about countermanding these orders.The Guardian (Oct 30, 2017)
    In the military, a command tells you to do something, but a countermand cancels out that order—or orders you to do the opposite.
  10. irreconcilable
    impossible to bring into accord
    The previous round of negotiations closed in Washington in mid-October with seemingly irreconcilable differences between the three parties, prompting the United States to push back the timetable for the talks.New York Times (Nov 12, 2017)
    Irreconcilable things can’t be reconciled, smoothed over, or negotiated. For example, if one spouse wants children, and the other would rather have cockroaches, that’s an irreconcilable difference.
  11. u-turn
    complete reversal of direction of travel
    On a multi-lane street, a vehicle decides to do a u-turn right in front of the emergency vehicle.Washington Times (Mar 19, 2017)
    If you turn completely around while driving, so you end up going in the opposite direction, you just did a u-turn, so named for the resemblance to the letter.
  12. diametrically
    as from opposite ends of a diameter
    Although the two men held what appeared to be diametrically opposing views on the struggle for equal rights, scholars say by the end of their lives their ideologies were evolving.Washington Post (Jan 14, 2018)
  13. opposite
    a directly contrary relation
    But for every action, as the law goes, there was an equal and opposite reaction — in this case, sinking.New York Times (Jan 4, 2018)
  14. antonym
    a word that expresses an opposite meaning
    Look up Patrick Reed in the dictionary, and bashful or shy might be listed as antonyms.Golf Digest (Oct 16, 2013)

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