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[an-tif-ruh-sis] /ænˈtɪf rə sɪs/
noun, Rhetoric
the use of a word in a sense opposite to its proper meaning.
Origin of antiphrasis
1525-35; < Latin < Greek, derivative of antiphrázein to speak the opposite (anti- anti- + phrázein to speak); see phrase, sis
Related forms
[an-ti-fras-tik] /ˌæn tɪˈfræs tɪk/ (Show IPA),
antiphrastical, adjective
antiphrastically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for antiphrasis
Historical Examples
  • Instances of antiphrasis in the names given to black slaves are very common.

  • 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


(rhetoric) the use of a word in a sense opposite to its normal one, esp for ironic effect
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
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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.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Difficulty index for antiphrasis

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