n. pl. an·tith·e·ses (-sēz′)
1. Direct contrast; opposition.
2. The direct or exact opposite: Hope is the antithesis of despair.
a. A figure of speech in which sharply contrasting ideas are juxtaposed in a balanced or parallel phrase or grammatical structure, as in "Hee for God only, shee for God in him" (John Milton).
b. The second and contrasting part of such a juxtaposition.
4. The second stage of the Hegelian dialectic process, representing the opposite of the thesis.
[Late Latin, from Greek, from antitithenai, antithe-, to oppose : anti-, anti- + tithenai, to set; see dhē- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.