Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin oppositus, past participle of opponere
Date: 14th century
a. set over against something that is at the other end or side of an intervening line or space <opposite interior angles> <opposite ends of a diameter> b. situated in pairs on an axis with each member being separated from the other by half the circumference of the axis <opposite leaves> — compare alternate 2. a. occupying an opposing and often antagonistic position <opposite sides of the question> b. diametrically different (as in nature or character) <opposite meanings> 3. contrary to one another or to a thing specified ; reverse <gave them opposite directions> 4. being the other of a pair that are corresponding or complementary in position, function, or nature <members of the opposite sex> 5. of, relating to, or being the side of a baseball field that is near the first base line for a right-handed batter and near the third base line for a left-handed batter • oppositely adverb • oppositeness noun Synonyms: opposite, contradictory, contrary, antithetical mean being so far apart as to be or seem irreconcilable. opposite applies to things in sharp contrast or in conflict <opposite views on foreign aid>. contradictory applies to two things that completely negate each other so that if one is true or valid the other must be untrue or invalid <made contradictory predictions about whether the market would rise or fall>. contrary implies extreme divergence or diametrical opposition <contrary assessments of the war situation>. antithetical stresses clear and unequivocal diametrical opposition <a law that is antithetical to the very idea of democracy>. II. noun Date: 15th century 1. something that is opposed to some other often specified thing 2. antonym 3. additive inverse; especially the additive inverse of a real number III. adverb Date: 1667 on or to an opposite side IV. preposition Date: 1758 1. across from and usually facing or on the same level with <sat opposite each other> 2. in a role complementary to <played opposite the leading man in the comedy>
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.