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Mock Antonyms

A list of pseudo and funny antonyms

The prefixes in and ex are opposites, as in interior and exterior.  So shouldn’t the opposite of increment be excrement? Likewise fire and water are opposites.  So why isn’t backfire the opposite of backwater?  Such seemingly logical, but incorrect, opposites are mock antonyms.  Here are just a few.

afterbower (on a ship)

aheadafoot

backfirebackwater

cannercanter

catalogdogwood

coffeecoffer

downfalluprise

downrightupright

extinctinstinct

forgiveforget

formalitycasualty

founderloser

fractioninfraction

giveawaygetaway

hardlysoftly

headlightsfootlights

highballlowball

imploreexplore

inceptionexception

inciteexcite

incrementexcrement

intendextend

invaluablevaluable

layoffstandoff

mistakemisgive

outstandingoutlying

overtakeundertake

pairimpair

paleimpale

startlestopple

thereforehereafter

treatytricky

undergoovercome

understandunderlie

uniquebisque

visitorauditor

Then there are those words that seem to be sexually opposite.

adderaddress

butterbuttress

careercaress

matermatrix

mattermattress

hellshell

hearshear

heathsheath

heavesheave

herringhissing

matronpatron

mummypuppy


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If input is the opposite of output, then shouldn’t income be the opposite of outcome?  The opposites up-down, on-off, and in-out provide many mock antonyms.

backupback down

breakdownbreakup

offsetonset

outcomeincome

outgrowningrown

outhousein-house

outinginning

outlawin-law

outlayinlay

outtakeintake

put-onput-off

put-upput-down

rundownrun-up

runoffrun-on

shutoutshut-in

sit-insit out

sit-upsit down

standoutstandin

takeoffgive off

takeofftake on

turndownturn up

withoutwithin

And now a list of pro and con mock antonyms (forgetting for the moment that “con” as a prefix means “with.”  “Con” alone is a shortened form of the Latin “contra” meaning “against.”)

processionconcession

productionconduction

professionalconfessional

profoundconfound

profusionconfusion

progresscongress

prostitutionconstitution

protestantcontestant

protractorcontractor

provokeconvoke

And a few hidden mock antonyms.

scanscant

shotscold

boutbin

doffdon

goutgin

spoutspin

shoutshin