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antithesis

[an-tith-uh-sis] /ænˈtɪθ ə sɪs/
noun, plural antitheses
[an-tith-uh-seez] /ænˈtɪθ əˌsiz/ (Show IPA)
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.
3.
Rhetoric.
  1. 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.”.
  2. the second sentence or part thus set in opposition, as “or give me death.”.
4.
Philosophy, See under Hegelian dialectic.
Origin
1520-1530
1520-30; < Latin < Greek: opposition, equivalent to anti(ti)thé(nai) to oppose + -sis -sis. See anti-, thesis
Related forms
self-antithesis, noun
Can be confused
antithesis, synthesis, thesis.
Synonyms
2. opposite, reverse.

Hegelian dialectic

noun
1.
an interpretive method, originally used to relate specific entities or events to the absolute idea, in which some assertible proposition (thesis) is necessarily opposed by an equally assertible and apparently contradictory proposition (antithesis) the mutual contradiction being reconciled on a higher level of truth by a third proposition (synthesis)
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for antithesis
  • It is the antithesis of what is supposed to happen.
  • The antithesis of nonviolence is self-defense.
  • If anything, the lanky actor seems the antithesis of the often-fearsome characters he plays.
  • He was the antithesis of the career politicians he was running against.
  • That's the antithesis of digital democracy.
  • The antithesis between logic and intuition manifested itself in the days of the Greeks.
  • It is the antithesis of a resort.
  • His straightness and squareness made him the antithesis of the wriggling, tormented man he replaced.
  • In essence, they are the antithesis of a true advertising campaign, which requires frequency and reach to be effective.
  • Reform is the antithesis of orthodoxy.
British Dictionary definitions for antithesis

antithesis

/ænˈtɪθɪsɪs/
noun (pl) -ses (-ˌsiːz)
1.
the exact opposite
2.
contrast or opposition
3.
(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
4.
(philosophy) the second stage in the Hegelian dialectic contradicting the thesis before resolution by the synthesis
Word Origin
C15: via Latin from Greek: a setting against, from anti- + tithenai to place

Hegelian dialectic

/hɪˈɡeɪlɪan, heɪˈɡiː-/
noun
1.
(philosophy) an interpretive method in which the contradiction between a proposition (thesis) and its antithesis is resolved at a higher level of truth (synthesis)
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 antithesis
n.

1520s, from Late Latin antithesis, from Greek antithesis "opposition, resistance," literally "a placing against," also a term in logic and rhetoric, noun of action from antitithenai "to set against, oppose," a term in logic, from anti- "against" (see anti-) + tithenai "to place," from PIE root *dhe- "to put, to do" (see factitious).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for antithesis

a figure of speech in which irreconcilable opposites or strongly contrasting ideas are placed in sharp juxtaposition and sustained tension, as in the saying "Art is long, and Time is fleeting."

Learn more about antithesis with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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