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opposition; contrast:
the antithesis of right and wrong.
the direct opposite (usually followed by of or to):
Her behavior was the very antithesis of cowardly.

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.”.
the second sentence or part thus set in opposition, as “or give me death.”.

Philosophy, See under .
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)
Contemporary Examples

Finally, Social Security and Medicare are the antithesis of food stamps and Medicaid.
Obama Misfires in the War on Poverty Lloyd Green January 12, 2014

Laura Hillenbrand is the antithesis of the popular concept of a world-famous, bestselling author.
Laura Hillenbrand’s Acclaimed Bestsellers Haven’t Changed Her Sandra McElwaine December 20, 2011

Our fundamental values demand that America stand with demonstrators opposing a regime that is the antithesis of all we believe.
Leave Iran to the Iranians Leslie H. Gelb June 20, 2009

Such arbitrary government action is the antithesis of such values.
PA Must Stop Censoring Internet Hussein Ibish April 30, 2012

Politically conservative and devoutly religious, my parents are the antithesis to Cyrus in every way.
Why Ahmadinejad Could Still Lose Telmah Parsa June 9, 2009

Historical Examples

Milton presented two distinct poems, though allied by antithesis, and Penseroso does not speak until Allegro has finished.
The Standard Cantatas George P. Upton

He was only misled by his love of antithesis into a hasty and illogical remark.
Wilfrid Cumbermede George MacDonald

In my opinion, this antithesis of monism and dualism is the most important in the whole history of philosophy.
The Wonders of Life Ernst Haeckel

That seems to arise out of the antithesis to the former conception of love.
Phaedrus Plato

Crabbe’s thoughts ran very much in antithesis, and the couplet suited this tendency.
Crabbe, (George) Alfred Ainger

noun (pl) -ses (-ˌsiːz)
the exact opposite
contrast or opposition
(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
(philosophy) the second stage in the Hegelian dialectic contradicting the thesis before resolution by the synthesis
(philosophy) an interpretive method in which the contradiction between a proposition (thesis) and its antithesis is resolved at a higher level of truth (synthesis)

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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