1. Placed or located directly across from something else or from each other: opposite sides of a building.
2. Facing the other way; moving or tending away from each other: opposite directions.
3. Being the other of two complementary or mutually exclusive things: the opposite sex; an opposite role to the lead in the play.
a. Altogether different, as in nature, quality, or significance: The effect of the medication was opposite to that intended.
b. Sharply contrasting; antithetical: had opposite views on the subject.
a. Growing in pairs on either side of a stem: opposite leaves.
b. Arranged on the same radius as another part, as stamens and petals.
1. One that is opposite or contrary to another.
2. An opponent or antagonist.
3. An antonym.
In an opposite position: They sat opposite at the table.
1. Across from or facing: parked the car opposite the bank.
2. In a complementary dramatic role to: He played opposite her.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin oppositus, past participle of oppōnere, oppose; see OPPOSE.]
Synonyms: opposite, contrary, antithetical, contradictory
These adjectives mean marked by a natural or innate and irreconcilable opposition. Two things that are altogether different are opposite: Antonyms are words of opposite meaning. "It is said that opposite characters make a union happiest" (Charles Reade).
Contrary stresses extreme divergence: Democrats and Republicans often hold contrary opinions.
Antithetical emphasizes diametrical opposition: engaged in practices entirely antithetical to their professed beliefs.
Contradictory implies denial or inconsistency: "contradictory attributes of unjust justice and loving vindictiveness" (John Morley).
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.