“Though the leaders had similar first names, Gandhi and Genghis Khan espoused many philosophical views that were antithetical to the other’s.”

What is the best definition of antithetical?

Check your answer!

Choice A - Acting as a remedy for something else
Choice B - Associated with a strong feeling of dislike
Choice C - Widely controversial or blasphemous in nature
Choice D - In direct contrast or opposition to something else


Antithetical (adjective) – being in direct opposition or contrast to something else

Antithesis (noun) – a person or thing that directly opposes or extremely contrasts something else; or, a contrast or opposition between two things

GRE pro tips:

Antithetical is related to the word antithesis. As you probably know, the root anti means “against” or “opposing,” and a thesis is either (1) a statement or theory that is put forward, or (2) a long essay or dissertation, like those written in college or graduate school. So, it makes sense that an antithesis can refer to written or spoken ideas that contrast or oppose a thesis, or, more broadly, to anything that contrasts or opposes something else – for example, love is the antithesis of hate. Or, it can refer to the contrast between two opposing things (e.g. the antithesis between love and hate).

Similarly, something that is antithetical to something else sharply opposes, contrasts, or contradicts it. For instance, love is antithetical to hate (because it opposes it), a rock-and-roll “museum” may be antithetical to the genre’s rebellious ethic (because it contrasts it), and someone’s actions can be antithetical to their professed beliefs (if they contradict them). 

Example sentences:

“Carey soon engaged in practices that seemed antithetical to her professed beliefs.”

“Many movies focus on the struggle between the antithetical powers of good and evil.”