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Apposite vs opposite

  • Apposite and opposite are a pair of words that are similar in spelling and pronunciation, but have very different meanings. They are not homophones as they are not pronounced in exactly the same manner. Pronunciation is important when learning a language, as common grammatical errors may occur when one does not memorize a list of vocabulary words correctly. We will examine the definitions of the words apposite and opposite, the word origin of these two terms and some examples of their use in sentences.


     

    Apposite means extremely appropriate for the circumstances, something that is perfectly suited for the purpose. Synonyms or words meaning the same thing as apposite that may be found in a thesaurus are germane, timely, suitable. Apposite is an adjective and is derived from the Latin word apponere which means to lay beside or set near. Related words are appositely, appositeness, apposition, appositional, apposable, appositive. Note that the word apposite and its related words are seldom used.

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    Opposite means absolutely contrary to, on the facing side, the total reverse of something. Opposite may be used as an adjective, adverb or noun. A list of synonyms or words that mean the same thing as opposite are differing, antithetical and contrary. Opposite is derived from the Latin word opponere which means set against. Related words are oppositely, oppositeness, opposition, oppositional, opposable, oppositive. Learning the proper pronunciation of similar word pairs such as apposite and opposite will prevent grammatical errors.

    Examples

    “…throw open his robes, perhaps fling off his wig and stand up and pour forth an outlandish, unconnected jumble of anecdotes of his early life jokes, partly original, partly borrowed from ‘Joe Millar’ or other joke books; quotations not always apposite but well recited from Milton or Shakespeare; sarcasms against defendant’s counsel, and possibly a few allusions to some leading incident that turned up in the course of the trial. He would then suddenly pull up, puffing and blowing amidst the laughter of the Bar” (Irish Legal News)

    Positioning the future between two opposing but alarmingly complementary poles of self-regarding masculinity may be depressingly apposite, but it does create something of an imbalance. (The Guardian)

    They both were well-known and admired, part of wildly successful, close-knit business families from opposite ends of the world and perhaps opposite ends of the ideological spectrum. (The New York Times)

    In other words, Hopkins believes the study provides evidence that the racially incendiary rhetoric and policies issuing from Trump’s White House have pushed the majority of Americans in the opposite direction. (The Washington Post)


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