opposite, against

Quick Summary

Prefixes are key morphemes in English vocabulary that begin words. The origin of the prefix anti- and its variant ant- is an ancient Greek word which meant “against” or “opposite.” These prefixes appear in numerous English vocabulary words, such as antifreeze, antidote, antonym, and antacid. An easy way to remember that the prefix anti- means “opposite” or “against” is through the word antisocial, for an antisocial person is the “opposite” of being social, or is “against” being so in her everyday conduct.

Anticipate Anti-!

Prefixes are key morphemes in English vocabulary that begin words. No longer will you be anti the prefix anti-, even if it does mean “against” or “opposite”!

Let’s first take a look at anti-, which usually means “against,” but can also mean “opposite.” If you are anti anything, you are “against” it. An antidote to a poison is a remedy given “against” the poison to stop if from killing you. An antibiotic is a drug that is given to provide a shield “against” harmful bacteria that has invaded your body. Similarly, liquids in car engines tend to freeze if antifreeze is not given as a protection “against” frigid winter temperatures.

Sweat a lot? If so, you might want to use an antiperspirant, which will help shield you “against” perspiring. Perhaps someone who is antisocial, or “against” being social, wouldn’t care whether he’d use antiperspirant or not, since he wouldn’t be hanging around others anyway.

Sometimes the i of anti- is left out; this tends to happen before vowels. This variant, ant, also means “opposite” or “against.” For instance, Antarctica is the land that is “opposite” to the Arctic on the globe. An antonym is a word that is “opposite” in meaning to another word, such as dark being the antonym of light.

Would an antagonist of yours, or one who goes “against” you, offer you an antacid tablet or antimatter? If your stomach wasn’t feeling well because of too much acid in it, you would take an antacid, which would work “against” the acid to neutralize it. On the other hand, if you were to bring matter and antimatter, or the “opposite” of matter, together, they would annihilate each other in one huge explosion. Watch out if your antagonist is also a physicist!

Now words with anti- or ant in them will no longer go “against” your vocabulary knowledge, but rather much the “opposite!”

  1. anti: ‘against’
  2. antidote: remedy given ‘against’ a poison
  3. antibiotic: drug given ‘against’ the life-form bacteria which has invaded a body
  4. antifreeze: a liquid used ‘against’ the freezing of cars’ engines
  5. antiperspirant: product used to help fight ‘against’ perspiration
  6. antisocial: of going ‘against’ being social
  7. Antarctica: continent ‘opposite’ the Arctic on the globe
  8. antonym: word ‘opposite’ another in meaning
  9. antacid: tablet used ‘against’ stomach acid
  10. antagonist: one who goes ‘against’ another, usually the protagonist
  11. antimatter: matter that is the ‘opposite’ of normal matter


  • antipodal

    Two points or places are antipodal if they are directly opposite each other, such as the north and south poles; likewise, ideas can be antipodal if they are direct opposites.

  • antipathy

    Antipathy is a strong feeling of dislike or hostility towards someone or something.

  • antithesis

    The antithesis of something is its opposite.

  • anti

    not in favor of (an action or proposal etc.)

  • antibiotic

    of or relating to antibiotic drugs

  • anticlimactic

    of or relating to a sudden change from an impressive to a ludicrous style

  • anticlimax

    a disappointing decline after a previous rise

  • antidote

    a remedy that stops or controls the effects of a poison

  • antifreeze

    a liquid added to the water in a cooling system to lower its freezing point

  • antipathetic

    (usually followed by `to') strongly opposed

  • antiperspirant

    an astringent substance applied to the skin to reduce perspiration

  • antipodes

    any two places or regions on diametrically opposite sides of the Earth

  • antiseptic

    thoroughly clean and free of or destructive to disease-causing organisms

  • antisocial

    shunning contact with others

  • antithetical

    sharply contrasted in character or purpose

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