noun, plural an·tith·e·ses [an-tithuh-seez] /ænˈtɪθ əˌsiz/.

  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.


  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).

noun plural -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


  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)

plural of antithesis.


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).

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