Converse (semantics)

  (Redirected from Relational antonym)

In linguistics, converses or relational antonyms are pairs of words that refer to a relationship from opposite points of view, such as parent/child or borrow/lend.[1][2] The relationship between such words is called a converse relation.[2] Converses can be understood as a pair of words where one word implies a relationship between two objects, while the other implies the existence of the same relationship when the objects are reversed. [3] Converses are sometimes referred to as complementary antonyms because an "either/or" relationship is present between them. One exists only because the other exists.[4]

List of converse wordsEdit

  • Own and belong are relational opposites i.e. "A owns B" is the same as "B belongs to A."
  • Win and lose i.e. if someone wins, someone must lose.
  • Fraction and whole i.e. if there is a fraction, there must be a whole.
  • Above and below
  • Employer and employee
  • Parent and child
  • Teacher and student
  • Buy and sell
  • East and west
  • Husband and wife
  • Predator and prey
  • Lend and borrow
  • Offense and defense
  • Slave and master

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "converse". The SIL French/English Glossary of Linguistic Terms. Archived from the original on 2014-10-22. Retrieved 2013-07-04. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b Plag, Ingo; Braun, Maria; Lappe, Sabine; Schramm, Mareile (2009). Introduction to English Linguistics. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 978-3-11-021550-2. Retrieved 4 July 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "Synonyms, Antonyms, and Homonyms". Archived from the original on 10 May 2012. Retrieved 4 July 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "Antonyms". Archived from the original on 18 May 2011. Retrieved 2016-12-27. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)