Antonyms vs. Synonyms Which Are More Important?

Antonyms are words with the opposite meaning. The term antonym derives from Greek, where the word (actually prefix) αντι(anti) means contrary, opposite, or against.

If you want to enrich your vocabulary, antonyms will come in pretty handy, because the human brain, however inconsistent it may sound, likes contradictions. Moreover, antonyms are of much more use to English learners, than synonyms. Indeed, synonyms enrich and decorate our speech, nevertheless, we can get along without them.

Antonyms, on the contrary, are much more specific, straightforward..., and inevitable. Besides, there are myriads of synonyms in English, while the number of antonyms is much fewer. That's because the vast majority of English words have synonyms, but there are a lot of words without antonyms. Consider, for example, words like party (festivity, celebration, gathering), table (desk, surface), or language (tongue, speech, dialect). We easily found several synonyms for each of them, while antonyms are missing.

Our list is far from complete, yet it outlines the most in-demand English antonyms.

The table below contains about 300 pairs of words — and yes, it is sortable.

English Antonyms

Keyword Antonym
accept reject
active passive
advance retreat
affirm deny
agree disagree, differ
allow forbid
ancient modern
arrive depart
assemble disperse, disassemble
attractive repulsive
backward forward, onward
bad good
barren fertile
beautiful ugly
begin end
beginning ending
below above
bend straighten
bent straight
best worst
better worse
big small, little
bitter sweet
blame praise
bless curse
blunt sharp
bold timid, meek
borrow lend
bravery cowardice
bright dull
broad narrow
build destroy, demolish
calm troubled
capable incapable
captivity freedom, liberty
careful rush, careless
cellar attic
cheap expensive
hated dear
cheerful gloomy
civilized savage
clean dirty
clear vague, cloudy
clever stupid
clever stupid
clockwise anti-clockwise
close distant
cold hot
combine separate
come go
comfort discomfort
common rare
conceal reveal
conceal reveal
confident diffident
convex concave
correct incorrect
courage cowardice
courteous discourteous, rude
create destroy
cruel kind
cunning simple
dainty clumsy
danger safety
dark light
decrease increase
deep shallow
deficient proficient
definite indefinite
demand supply
dense rare
despair hope
difficult easy
disappear appear
discharge convict
discourage encourage
disease health
dismal cheerful
doctor patient
domestic wild
dry wet
dull clear, bright
dusk dawn
early late
early late
east west
easy difficult
ebb flow
economical extravagant
economize waste
employer employee
empty full
encourage discourage
end beginning
enrich impoverish
enthrone dethrone
entrance exit
excited calm
expand contract
expensive inexpensive, cheap
explicit implicit
export import
expose conceal
exterior interior
external internal
fail succeed
faithful treacherous
false true
famous unknown
far near
fast slow
fat thin
fat thin
feeble sturdy, strong, powerful
few many
find lose
first last
fold unfold
foolish wise
forelegs hindlegs
forget remember
fortunate unfortunate
found lost
frank secretive
freedom captivity
frequent seldom
fresh stale
friend enemy
friendly hostile
full empty
full empty
gather distribute
gather scatter
general particular
generous mean
gentle rough
giant dwarf, pygmy
glad sorry
gloomy cheerful
go come
granted refused
grave cheerful
great minute, small, little
great small
guardian ward
guest host
guilty innocent
guilty innocent
happy sad, miserable
hard soft
hard soft
harmful harmless
hasten dawdle
hate love
healthy unhealthy, ill, diseased
heavy light
height depth
help hinder
here there
hero coward
hide seek
hill valley
hinder aid, help
honest dishonest
horizontal vertical
hot cold
humble proud
hunger thirst
hurt heal
imitation genuine
immense tiny,minute
important trivial
imprison free
include exclude
include exclude
increase decrease
inferior superior
inhabited uninhabited
inhale exhale
insert extract
inside outside
intentional accidental
intentional accidental
interesting uninteresting, dull
interior exterior, outside
internal external
invest divest
join separate
junior senior
justice injustice
king subject
knowledge ignorance
land sea
landlord tenant
large little, small
last first
laugh cry
laugh weep
lawful unlawful
lawyer client
lazy industrious, energetic
lead follow
leader follower
lecturer student
left right
lend borrow
lender borrower
lengthen shorten
less more
light dark, heavy
like dislike, unlike
likely unlikely
little large, much, big
lofty lowly
long short
loss find, win
loud soft
loud soft
low high
loyal disloyal
mad sane
magnetize demagnetize
masculine feminine
master servant, slave
material spiritual
mature immature
maximum minimum
me you
mental physical
merry mirthless, sad
minority majority
miser spendthrift
misunderstand understand
narrow wide
natural artificial
near far, distant
odd even
offensive defensive
offer refuse
omit insert
open shut
progressive retrograde
public private
rash deliberate
recognize ignore
religious secular
remember forget
resist submit
rise fall, set
rough smooth
round flat
simple artful
singular plural
sink swim
sleep wake
slow prompt
smile frown
sober drunk
solid liquid
solid hollow
sorrow joy
sour sweet
sow reap
speaker listener
stand lie
stern mild
straight crooked
straight crooked
strict lenient
strong weak
sublime ridiculous
success failure
sunny cloudy
superior inferior
take give
tall short
tame wild
teach learn
teacher pupil
temporal spiritual
temporary permanent
thick thin
transparent opaque
uniform varied
vertical horizontal
vigorous feeble
voluntary compulsory
vulgar refined
warm cool
wax wane
wide narrow
wild tame
wise foolish