Definition of opposite in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈäpəzət/


1 [attributive] Having a position on the other or further side of something; facing something, especially something of the same type: a crowd gathered on the opposite side of the street
More example sentences
  • The trees can be clearly seen from both sides of the river and are situated opposite Asgill House.
  • Spirit touched down on January 4 and its twin, Opportunity, landed on the opposite side of Mars on January 25.
  • No, you can't play on the opposite side of the instrument.
facing, opposing, reverse
1.1 [postpositive] Facing the speaker or a specified person or thing: he went into the store opposite
1.2 Botany (Of leaves or shoots) arising in opposed pairs, one on each side of the stem.
Example sentences
  • They were harvested in pairs because the plants produce a pair of primary, opposite leaves at each node.
  • The opposite leaf of each node was used for hydraulic experiments.
  • The corresponding opposite leaf received only radiation of selected wavelengths.
2Diametrically different; of a contrary kind: a word that is opposite in meaning to another currents flowing in opposite directions
More example sentences
  • On the fretless guitar this means that I can glissando in opposite directions on different strings.
  • These two pictures where taken only a few seconds apart but in opposite directions.
  • On closer inspection, he saw that three different sets of prints trailed off in three opposite directions.
conflicting, contrasting, incompatible, irreconcilable, antithetical, contradictory, clashing, contrary, at variance, at odds, different, differing, divergent, dissimilar, unalike, disagreeing, opposed, opposing, poles apart, polar
2.1 [attributive] Being the other of a contrasted pair: the opposite ends of the price range
More example sentences
  • Two leading scientists on opposite sides of the debate join us.
  • Some of us had been on opposite sides in the recent campaign.
  • Two congressmen on opposite sides of the debate will join me.


A person or thing that is totally different from or the reverse of someone or something else: we were opposites in temperament the literal is the opposite of the figurative
More example sentences
  • These different faiths are not to be regarded as opposites or contradictories.
  • But at the same time they are so different that you might well think of them as opposites.
  • Indeed, it's those co-existing opposites that underpin the whole movie.
reverse, converse, antithesis, contrary, inverse, obverse, antipode;
the other side of the coin
informal flip side


In a position facing a specified or implied subject: she was sitting almost opposite


1In a position on the other side of a specific area from; facing: they sat opposite one another
More example sentences
  • The new crossing will be positioned opposite the recently constructed paved area at the top of Finkle Street giving more room for pedestrians waiting to cross the road.
  • Cricklade parents are unhappy with plans to build sheltered flats on a green space and play area opposite the town's junior school.
  • Down a side street, opposite the bus stop a shouting man is sitting on a square of wood, bouncing up and down in an unsuccessful attempt to snap it.
facing, face to face with, across from
informal eyeball to eyeball with
archaic fronting
2(Of a leading actor) in a complementary role to (another performer).
Example sentences
  • Ever since he came into public consciousness for his role in Minority Report opposite Tom Cruise, he's proven to be a force to be reckoned with.
  • Playing opposite her in the role of Gianetta was Rhiannon, who joined the club three and a half years ago, after a friend recommended it.
  • Macfadyen had agreed to star in Middletown last year but then was offered the role as Darcy opposite Hollywood star Knightley.



Example sentences
  • The energy of attraction between oppositely charged particles is inversely proportional to the distance between them.
  • Recall from basic chemistry that pH is a measure of how many hydrogen ions are floating around looking to attract oppositely charged particles.
  • When the train turned toward the left or right, the compass naturally turned oppositely.


Example sentences
  • The first half of the movie so firmly entrenches Peter Banning's complete oppositeness to his former Peter Pan self, that it's hard to believe he really is ‘the Pan’ when the transformation takes place.


opposites attract

Used to explain the phenomenon of dissimilar people taking a strong or romantic interest in each other: Clearly, opposites attract, but fortunately, the film doesn’t follow typical romantic movie conventions would such opposites attract, or would these two conflicting musical spirits lock horns and fight it out?
More example sentences
  • Our closeness seemed to confirm the old saying that opposites attract.
  • That's the kind of place where opposites attract.
  • It's true what they say - opposites attract.


Late Middle English: via Old French from Latin oppositus, past participle of opponere 'set against'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: op·po·site

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.