In the name of ALLAH, the most beneficient, the most merciful

Antonyms (Verbal Ability)

The antonym questions test your vocabulary, specially your ability to understand the meanings of words and to distinguish between fine shades of meaning.

This question type requires a strong college level vocabulary. A strong vocabulary cannot be developed instantly; it grows over a long period of time spent reading extensively and learning new words. Knowing the meanings of prefixes, suffixes, and roots will help you derive word meanings on the test.


Each word in CAPITAL LETTERS is followed by four/five words or phrases. The correct choice is the word or phrase whose meaning is most nearly opposite to the meaning of the word in capitals. You may be required to distinguish fine shades of meaning. Look at all choices before marking your answer.

Analysis of Directions

Although your choice may not be a perfect opposite, it must be the most nearly opposite of the choices provided.
You can identify the part of speech of the root word by looking at the answer choices.

Example: Suppose that the word in question is MINUTE. Is this the noun meaning a unit of time equaling 60 seconds (pronounced min-ut)? Or is it the adjective meaning extremely small (pronounced my-noot)? If the answer choices are all nouns, then the root word must also be a noun (indicating the former meaning of minute). If the answer choices are all adjectives, the root word is an adjective. All the answer choices in a particular question will represent the same part of speech. Scanning the answer choices can help you identify the part of speech of the root word.

Suggestions with Examples

You are looking for the best answer, which may not be an ideal answer - simply the best of the choices given.


  1. offender
  2. coordinator
  3. instigator
  4. negotiator
  5. leader

A warmonger is one who advocates war or seeks to bring war about. The ideal answer or opposite would be peacemaker, but that is not one of the choices. The best answer is choice D negotiator, one who tries to settle things or bring about a compromise.

You should be able to immediately eliminate two or three of the choices because they are not even close or could not possibly relate to the original word.


  1. remember
  2. disrupt
  3. reorganize
  4. enjoy
  5. maintain

The word alter means to change. The closest opposite is choice E maintain. Notice that choice A remember and choice D enjoy do not relate to alter so are not possible answers. Choice B disrupt and choice C reorganize would be more in the synonym category.

Use the word in a short, clear sentence; try to think of how you’ve heard the word used before. You may discover a context for it that will help you make a choice.


  1. unsteady
  2. cured
  3. predictable
  4. stubborn
  5. selective

Sentence: “One of my friends is a pathological liar.” Because pathological here refers to a negative characteristic, the correct choice is positive, B cured.

The prefix, root and (sometimes) suffix of the original word may help you understand the meaning of the word and thus locate its opposite.


  1. separate
  2. fasten
  3. rid
  4. correct
  5. move

The prefix de- usually means away from. You may be familiar with the word attach, which means to fasten or unite. So detach means to separate or unfasten. The best opposite is choice B fasten.


  1. timeless
  2. out of sorts
  3. out of step
  4. brought into accord
  5. chronological

The prefix syn- means with or together. The root chron refers to time. So synchronized means occurring at the same time or occurring together. The best opposite would be choice C out of step.

Sometimes the prefix of the original word may tip off a positive or negative connotation, which can help lead you to the correct answer.


  1. deficiency
  2. certainty
  3. proliferation
  4. largeness
  5. maximum

The prefix pro- has several meanings, and all of them have “positive” connotations; here, it means forward. Of the five choices, the prefix most opposite to the meaning of pro- is de-. The connotations of de- are usually “negative”; most often, it means away from, off, or down. Profusion means abundance, and deficiency refers to an inadequacy or incompleteness. The correct answer is A deficiency. Given these definitions, you can see that these two terms are the most nearly opposite of those given. However — even without your knowing the definitions — the prefixes, in this case, provide strong clues.

You may be able to detect whether a word is positive or negative in meaning without taking it apart. If the original word is positive, your choice must be negative, and vice versa.


  1. hectic
  2. orderly
  3. embarrassing
  4. productive
  5. lengthy

Chaotic is a negative word that means in a state of utter confusion or disorder. You are now looking for a positive word. Choices B and D are the only positive words, so you have now narrowed your choices to two possibilities. Choice B orderly is the positive word that is the best opposite of utter confusion and disorder.

Pay special attention to the “strength” of a word. Is the word mild, moderate, or extreme? Do you get a “feeling” for the word when you read it?


  1. humble
  2. overbearing
  3. creative
  4. selfish
  5. astounded

Bombastic is a very strong word that means boastful. Notice that it simply sounds like a strong word. The best opposite here is choice A humble. The opposite of a loud boastful person is a quiet humble person.


  1. melodious
  2. unpleasant
  3. spiritual
  4. soothing
  5. indefinite

The word mellifluous seems to have a pleasant sound and does in fact mean pleasant, melodious, or sweet. The best opposite would be choice B unpleasant.


  1. stupendous
  2. infectious
  3. lovely
  4. acceptable
  5. standard

Ghastly is a strongly negative word. Although choice D acceptable is a positive word, and therefore opposite to ghastly, choice C lovely is a better choice. Lovely is a stronger positive word than acceptable and therefore opposes the strongly negative meaning of ghastly.

Don’t choose an antonym that is too broad or too limited to be an opposite.


  1. edited
  2. not talkative
  3. censored
  4. narrow-minded
  5. unyielding

Garrulous means talking too much. Although choices A, C, D, and E are all partial opposites because they contain the idea of restricting language, only B not talkative specifically refers to speech.

Working from the answer choices, eliminating similar choices, and looking for the choice that “stands out” can be useful.


  1. ruined
  2. condemned
  3. renovated
  4. destroyed
  5. shabby

Assessing the choices, you could have eliminated choices A ruined and D destroyed because they are really identical answers. Also notice that only choice C renovated is clearly not a negative word; thus it “stands out” among the other choices. In this case, renovated (made good as new) is the opposite of dilapidated, which means falling apart.

For better understanding, fully explained exercises are included, which you can use as perfect guideline to tackle Antonym question type.

What may be the best strategy to be fluent in antonym question type? As vocabulary is lifeblood in antonyms questions, in my opinion, you must memorize the vocabulary first and then try to attempt the exercises.