Antonyms
Verbal Test Questions and Answers


Introduction

An antonym is a word that is the opposite meaning of another. It comes from the Greek words "anti" for opposite and "onym" for name. Since language is complex, people may at times, disagree on what words are truly opposite in meaning to other words.

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Categories of Antonyms

There are three categories of antonyms:

1. Graded Antonyms

Graded Antonyms deal with levels of the meaning of the words, like if something is not "good", is may still not be "bad." There is a scale involved with some words, and besides good and bad there can be average, fair, excellent, terrible, poor, or satisfactory.

Example:

  • Last and first
  • Foolish and wise
  • Abundant and scarce
  • Dark and light
  • Dangerous and safe
  • Clever and foolish
  • Early and late
  • Empty and full
  • Smart and dumb
  • Risky and safe
  • Bad and good
  • Pretty and ugly
  • Best and worst
  • Rich and poor
  • Cool and hot
  • Wet and dry
  • Late and early
  • Ignorant and educated
  • Big and small
  • Optimistic and pessimistic
  • Excited and bored
  • Dull and interesting

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2. Complementary Antonyms

Complementary antonyms have a relationship where there is no middle ground. There are only two possibilities, either one or the other.

Example:

  • Dead and alive
  • Off and on
  • Day and night
  • Absent and present
  • Exit and entrance
  • Sink or float
  • True or false
  • Input and output
  • Interior and exterior
  • Exhale and inhale

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3. Relational Antonyms

Relational antonyms are sometimes considered a subcategory of complementary antonyms. With these pairs, for there to be a relationship, both must exist.

Example:

  • Doctor and patient
  • Buy and sell
  • Predator and prey
  • Above and below
  • Teach and learn
  • Instructor and pupil
  • Servant and master
  • Borrow and lend

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An Example

Choose the best antonym:

Example:

Restive:

A) Patient B) Rigorous C) Deceptive D) Active E) Cautious

Solution:

The word, restive, is tricky, because it sounds like it has something to do with rest. Therefore, option (D) active would be the best antonym. However, this is a trick. Restive actually means restless. So, the correct answer is patient, a good antonym for restless.

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Tips to Solve Antonym Questions

Take note of positively and negatively charged answer choices. It is possible to associate a negative or positive charge with almost any given word. Try to discern whether each word in the following list has a positive (+), negative (-), or neutral (=) charge.

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