For example, everybody's heard of synonyms and antonyms (we'll come back to antonyms a bit later). Synonyms are words that supposedly have the same meaning, like couch and sofa, or big and large. I say supposedly, though, because true synonyms are pretty rare. I suppose couch and sofa work ok, but check out these phrases:
my big brotherStill think big and large are synonyms? Try the same experiment with little and small.
my large brother
There are some nyms, though, that most people haven't heard about, for example:
Hyponyms. These are kinds of something, as in terrier, chihuahua, and German shepherd, which are kinds of dogs, which makes terrier, chihuahua, and German shepherd hyponyms of dog.And:
Metonyms. We use these when we refer to a whole something by naming one of its parts. My favorite is suits, as in look like you're busy, the suits are coming. Here suits is a metonym for the people who wear business suits and are in charge, the bosses.And again:
Partonyms (aka meronyms). These are parts of something: head, ear, leg, and tail are parts of a dog, so they are partonyms.And one more:
Retronyms. These show up when we have to specify something's older form because the newer one has become the default. Acoustic guitar is a retronym; before there were electric guitars, all guitars were acoustic and if you spelled it out you were being redundant. Straight razor is probably another.Before we get to antonyms, I might mention two other relations between words, one of which most people know, and the other maybe a bit less known:
Homophones. These are words that sound the same but have different meanings: led and lead; sweet and suite; feet and feat.
Homographs. These are words that are spelled the same, but pronounced differently and with different meanings. For example, dove (the bird) and dove (past tense of dive).And now, at last, antonyms. Antonyms are supposed to be opposites, but it turns out it's a little more complicated than that; there are several flavors of antonyms:
Gradable antonyms. These are opposites that have intermediate forms or grades in between. For example, something doesn't have to be either hot or cold, it can be warm, lukewarm, tepid, cool, chilly, etc.
. Unlike gradable antonyms, these have to be one or the other: single or married; dead or alive. There's nothing in between.
Converse antonyms. These antonyms entail each other; you can't be a member of the pair unless the other member also exists: wife and husband; parent and child; teacher and student. Can't have one without the other.It's this last set of antonyms that's illustrated in the photo. Grampa Ron and Grandson Gabriel: converse antonyms.