Pronunciation key

( opə-zit )



[ME.; OFr.; L. oppositus pp. of opponere; see OPPONENT].

  1. opposed to.
  2. to be set against. In a contrary position or direction.
  3. characterized by hostility or resistance.
  4. extremely different; exactly contrary; antithetical.
  5. in botany, growing in pair yet on opposing sides and separated by a stem. Having one part before the other such as a stamen in front of a petal.


  1. anything opposed.


  1. on opposing sides; in opposite positions; specifically in theatre in a complementary role (of the opposite gender) to: as she played opposite him.


  1. fronting; across from.

Abbreviated opp., or op.

Syn. - opposite applied to anything that is symmetrically opposed in position or direction, et cetera. Such as opposite ends of the spectrum, or they set at opposite ends of the table. Contrary adds to this connotation of conflict or antagonism such as they hold contrary views; antithetic(al) implies diametrical opposition so that the contrasted items are as far apart or different as possible, such as our interests are completely antithetical. Reverse applies to that which moves or faces in the opposite direction (the reverse side of fabric). Antonymous is used specifically of words that are in such contrast in meaning that each contradicts and reverses or negates the othe (good and bad are antonymous terms.)

Ant. - identical, same, likeness.

References and Further Reading

  • Firefly Encyclopedia of Trees, Edited by Steve Cafferty M.Sc. ©2005
  • Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language (College Edition) ©1955
  • Zoology Quest: Chart of Leaf Arrangement and Attachment
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