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Antonyms are words that have the opposite meaning of a given word. The study of antonyms will not only help you choose the most appropriate word as you write; it will also sharpen your overall sense of language. Table 3.3 “Common Antonyms” lists common words and their antonyms.

Table: Common Antonyms

WordAntonym WordAntonym
absencepresence frequentseldom
acceptrefuse harmfulharmless
accurateinaccurate horizontalvertical
advantagedisadvantage imitationgenuine
ancientmodern inhabiteduninhabited
abundantscarce inferiorsuperior
artificialnatural intentionalaccidental
attractiverepulsive justiceinjustice
borrowlend knowledgeignorance
braverycowardice landlordtenant
createdestroy, demolish likelyunlikely
boldtimid, meek minoritymajority
capableincapable miserspendthrift
combineseparate obedientdisobedient
concealreveal optimistpessimist
commonrare permanenttemporary
decreaseincrease plentifulscarce
definiteindefinite privatepublic
despairhope prudentimprudent
discourageencourage qualifiedunqualified
employeremployee satisfactoryunsatisfactory
expandcontract tamewild
forgetremember vacantoccupied


Learning antonyms is an effective way to increase your vocabulary. Memorizing words in combination with or in relation to other words often helps us retain them.

Key Takeaways

  • Synonyms are words that have the same, or almost the same, meaning as another word.
  • Antonyms are words that have the opposite meaning of another word.
  • Choosing the right synonym refines your writing.
  • Learning common antonyms sharpens your sense of language and expands your vocabulary.

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