Phantom Antonyms

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Some words look like they could have antonyms but really do not.  For example, “aftermath” suggests the made-up opposite of beforemath, a phantom antonym.  The word candid, meaning open and frank, suggests the opposite non-word, cannotdidnot, meaning hidden. Here is a list of odd words accompanied by plausible sentences showing their phantom antonyms.


aftermath — Ivan Itch found the beforemath of a struggle quite relaxing.

ambidextrous — Being ambiclumsy, Buck Aroo couldn’t use a fork with either hand.

backfire — After his scheme frontfired, Paul Bairer became a wealthy man.

become — It was during anatomy class that Art Deco decided to bego a doctor.

bigamist — After his wives won a class action divorce, Al Amony became a smallamist.

bigot — Since he hated only a few people, Mike Krobe considered himself a smallot.

candid — When it came to his love life, Carl Mell was quite cannotdidnot.

curfew — Heidi Hoe found the streets crowded that night, possibly because of the curmany.

extravaganza — With so few friends, Jo King’s party was only a vaganza.

farfetched — Eileen Onyu used only nearfetched experiences on her resume.

fastidious — Since Polly Glot was a slowidious eater, she usually dined alone.

forthwith — Being a procrastinator, May O’Naize filed her taxes forthwithout.

furthermoreFurtherless, I take back what I just said.

handsome — When Neal Downe looked in the mirror each morning, he saw a footsome guy.

hereafter — Liz Ard thought she had been a pigeon in the herebefore because she liked statues.

horseback — The saddle was so loose that Aaron Sturun ended up riding horsefront.


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longevity — Eating uncooked bacon three times a day promotes shortevity.

nearly — When Val Ubull jumped from the moving train, he was farly killed.

nevertheless — Rod Enreal’s position in the company was minor, but alwaystheless unimportant.

nowadaysThenadays money could not always buy happiness.

offing — For Lynn Gweeny, marriage was very much in the onning.

outstanding — Rumors had it Bob Enweve was an instanding scholar.

overhaul — Not big on change, Chick Fliik preferred to give her car an underhaul.

posthumously — Donnie Brook wanted to spend his money prehumously.

precocious — Being a postcocious child, Willie spent hours counting his feet.

procrastinate — Being a anticrastinator, Eddy Torial filed his taxes immediately.

reckless — Not being a reckful driver, Robin Cheet was never asked to be the designated driver.

shortcoming — After the honeymoon Ma, discovered Pa had no longcomings.

shortly — The receptionist told Drew Ling the doctor would see her longly.

stopgap — With his finger in the dike, Hans Ellengrettle yearned for a startgap solution.

surplus — Rene Saunce noticed a surminus of meatballs in her spaghetti.

tailspin — Once Cal Sifye sold Bald Barbers, Inc., the price of the shares went into a headspin.

tomboy — Pete Moss, like any judygirl, liked putting on his mother’s makeup.

underdogs — Artie Fishel’s heart was with the Dodgers but his money was with the overdogs.

understand — Men overstand women because they defy logic.

uneasy — The laxative made Izzy Kidding feel undifficult.

upholstered — Upon returning home, Molly Koddle found her cat had downholstered her sofa.

utmost — Having beaten her boyfriend in the first two games, Fran Tikk did her utleast to win the next one.