Antonymy

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Antonymy is a sense relation. According to Cruse (2004: 165), antonyms "are incompatibles, but not complementaries", and they are always gradable (i.e., a comparative can be formed). Three types of antonymy can be distinguished, on the basis of the relationship between the comparative and the positive forms of the relevant predicates:

  • Polar antonymy: The comparative of neither term entails the corresponding positive form. Example: 'long' vs. 'short'; 'x is longer than y' does not entail 'x is long', 'x is shorter than y' does not entail 'x is short'.
  • Equipollent antonymy: The comparative of both terms entails the corresponding positive form. Example: 'hot' vs. 'cold'; 'x is hotter than y' entails 'x is hot', 'x is colder than y' entails 'x is cold'.
  • Overlapping antonymy: The comparative of one (but not both) terms entails the corresponding positive form. Example: 'good' vs. 'bad'; 'x is better than y' does not entail 'x is good', but 'x is worse than y' entails 'x is bad'.

Link

Utrecht Lexicon of Linguistics

References

  • Kempson, R.M. 1977. Semantic theory. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  • Cruse, A. 2004. Meaning in Language. An Introduction to Semantics and Pragmatics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Other languages

German Antonymie
Chinese 反义词