An antonym is a word that is opposite in meaning to another word. For example, ‘cold’ is the antonym of ‘hot’. The list of antonyms below, with an example of use, will help English learners improve their vocabulary.

WORDANTONYMEXAMPLE
abovebelow– The cups are on the shelf above the sink.
– The washing-up liquid is below the sink 
absentpresent– Arthur is not here today.  He’s absent.
– The teacher will be present at the graduation ceremony. 
acceptrefuse– The customer accepts/refuses the conditions. 
accidentalintentional– He didn’t intend to break the window. It was accidental.
– He wanted to break the window.  It was intentional.
addsubtract– An amount of tax must be added to the bill.
– A mistaken amount was substracted from the bill
admitdeny– Bobby said he stole the ball. He admitted it.
– Sam said he didn’t steal the ball. He denied it.
affirmativenegative– I got the job! The reply was affirmative.
– I’m disappointed. I received a negative reply.
afterbefore– My guitar lesson is after lunch, at 2 pm.
– The tennis match is before lunch, at 11 am.
agreerefuse– He didn’t agree to go so he refused to leave.
alivedead– The man was alive/dead when the doctor arrived.
allowforbid– Food is allowed but smoking is forbidden.
alwaysnever– I’ll always love  you.
– I’ll never forget the day I met you.
amateurprofessional– He’s still an amateur golfer. He hasn’t turned professional yet.
amusebore– An entertainer should amuse the audience, not bore them to tears!
approximatelyexactly– The journey will take approximately an hour.
– The journey will take exactly 48 minutes and 30 seconds.
argueagree– They argue constantly. They can never agree on anything!
arrivedepart– The train departs at 10.15 am and arrives at 2 pm.
attackdefend– Enemy forces attacked the harbour.
– Our troups defended it.
awakeasleep– I can hear noise. The baby is awake.
– There is no noise. The baby is still asleep.
backfront– The back of the blouse is not the same colour as the front.
badgood– Pedro is a bad student. He must work harder.
– José got good results in English. He is very pleased.
beautifulugly– The actress is very beautiful.
– The wound left an ugly scar on the man’s face.
beforeafter– The tennis match is before lunch, at 11 am.
– My guitar lesson isafter lunch, at 2 pm.
beginend– The film begins at 7 pm and ends at 8.30 pm.
belowabove– The bookshelves are above the television.
– The dvds are below it.
betterworse– The patient is still the same condition, neither better nor worse.
bigsmall– My boss drives a big car but my car is small.
bittersweet– We had a choice between sweet tea or bitter lemon juice.
bluntsharp– This knife is blunt. I need a sharp one.
borrowlend– You borrow something that someone lends you.
bottomtop-Take the plates on the bottom shelf and put them on the top shelf.
bravecowardly– You were very brave to defend the group.
– A cowardly person runs away when faced with danger.
broadnarrow– He has a broad forehead and a narrow chin.
cheapexpensive– This shop sells cheap/expensive clothes.
cleandirty– When their parents returned, the house was clean/dirty.
coldhot– We need to heat the soup because it’s cold.
– Be careful! The plate is very hot.
comego– Visitors to the museum come and go all day.
complicatedsimple– Some legal terms can be complicated and difficult to understand.
– The terms of the agreement were simple and clear.
coolwarm– In autumn you should bring clothes for cool weather.
– In spring the weather is often warm.
correctincorrect– His answer was correct/incorrect.
cowardlybrave– You were very brave to defend the group.
– It was cowardly of Sam to run away.
curlystraight– Her hair is curly/straight.
cruelkind– People should not be cruel to others. They should be kind.
damagerepair– If you damage anything you will have to repair it.
dangeroussafe– Be careful. The building is in a very dangerous area.
– Don’t worry.We live in a safe part of the city.
darklight– What colour is your car? It’s dark/light blue.
departarrive– The train departs at 10.15 am and arrives at 2 pm.
despairhope– There is no work here.  Tom despairs of finding a job.
– Andy has graduated and hopes to find a job soon.
differentsimilar– All the houses are different.  None of them are similar.
– The houses are all similar to each other. They are alike.
difficulteasy– The English test was quite difficult/easy.
earlylate– Jack had to leave at 6 am so he had an early breakfast.
– I didn’t have to work so I had a late breakfast.
failsucceed– He was afraid he would fail but he succeeded
falsetrue– Some details were false but the main story was true.
farnear– We live far from the sea but near the mountains.
fastslow– She usually walks at a fast pace.
– Business is slow at this time of the year.
fatthin– The shopkeeper is overweight.  He’s quite fat.
– His wife is the opposite. She’s very thin.
findlose– You try to find something when you lose it.
followlead– The teacher leads the group and the children follow her.
forbidallow– Food is allowed but smoking is forbidden.
forgetremember– I’m losing my memory. I often forget things.
– I’ve got a good memory. I remember names easily.
freezemelt– You freeze food in the freezer.
Ice-cream will melt in the sun.
fullempty– This bottle of milk is empty.
– The one in the fridge is full.
gentleviolent– They walked along the beach enjoying the gentle breeze.
– A violent storm broke out in the evening.
goodbad– Maria got good results in English. She is very pleased.
– Carla is a bad student. She must work harder
happysad– Jimmy was sad leaving New York, but he was happy to see his family again.
hardsoft– He slept in a hard bed but the pillow was soft.
hardworkinglazy– Joe works well. His colleagues say he is hardworking.
 
Mike does as little as possible. He’s lazy.
heavylight– My suitcase is very heavy.  I can’t lift it.
– My suitcase is very light. I can carry it.
hopedespair– Andy has graduated and hopes to find a job soon.
– There is no work here. Tom despairs of  finding a job.
hotcold– Be careful! The plate is very hot.
– We need to heat the soup because it’s cold.
intelligentstupid Intelligent people understand quickly. 
 Stupid people are slow to understand things.
interestingboring– Tom found the conference quite interesting.
– Alex left before the end because he found it boring.
longshort– The bride wore a long dress.
– Her mother’s dress was short .
marriedsingle– My sister is married but my brother is still single.
moderntraditional– Her dress was modern but the ceremony was traditional.
negativeaffirmative– I’m disappointed. I received a negative reply.
– I got the job! The reply was affirmative.
newold– The television set is old.  We’re going to buy a new one.
noisyquiet– The boys are too noisy. Tell them to be quiet!
politeimpolite– The children are impolite.
– They should learn to be polite.
poorrich Rich people can buy what they want.
– Poor people have to be careful with their money.
properimproper– For the interview wear a proper dress, not jeans!
– The boy was punished for behaving in an improper way.
quietnoisy– We live in a quiet area
– It’s not noisy at all.
rememberforget– I’ve got a good memory. I remember names easily.
– I’m losing my memory. I often forget things
rightwrong– We took the right road and arrived on time. 
– The others went the wrong way and got lost.
safedangerous– The children can play here.  It’s a safe place.
– Don’t play near the road.  It’s too dangerous.
shortlong– Eva wore a long dress but Amanda wore a short one.
shoutwhisper– The policeman shouted a warning.
– People whisper at the cinema so as not to disturb others.
similardifferent– The buildings are all similar to each other. They are alike.
– All the houses are different. None of them are similar.
simplecomplicated– The terms of the agreement were simple and clear.
– Some legal terms can be complicated and difficult to understand.
singlemarried– My brother is still single but my sister is married.
smallbig– This bag is too small.
– We need a big bag to go shopping.
softhard– She likes a soft pillow but prefers a hard mattress.
traditionalmodern– The ceremony was traditional but her dress was modern.
truefalse– The story was true but some of the details were false.
wellunwell– My grandfather is in good health. He’s well.
– My grandmother has the ‘flu. She’s unwell at the moment.
whispershout– People whisper at the cinema so as not to disturb others.
– The policeman shouted a warning.
wrongright– He didn’t understand me because I used the wrong word.
– I used a dictionary to find the right word.