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Check Out These Rare and Fascinating Antonyms!

Black and white, good or bad, empty and full - many words have pretty obvious opposite forms (antonyms) in the English language. In other words, however, pinpointing an antonym is trickier or entirely impossible. In the case of these ten rather common words, such opposites do indeed exist, but they’re so unfamiliar that most people are completely idle of their presence and rarely use them. Here are a few rare but fascinating antonyms we wish people used more often.

1. Ambidextrous

Rare Antonyms Ambidextrous
Most humans are right-handed and only around 10 percent are left-handed. An even smaller percentage of the population - only about 1 percent - are equally proficient in using both hands. This last group is described as ambidextrous, from the Latin dexter meaning “right-handed, skilled” and ambi- meaning “both.”
But there’s one more group that we omitted - those who are clumsy using both hands. These unfortunate folks are called ambilevous, or “left-handed on both sides” if you were to translate it literally from Latin.

2. Distress

Rare Antonyms Distress
When we experience distress, we’re overwhelmed by feelings of sorrow, anxiety, and pain. This term was adopted into English through French from the Latin distringere, which means “to stretch apart.” The opposite of distress is eustress, a term coined by the Austrian endocrinologist Hans Selye. This term describes the healthy, stimulating kind of agitation when a stressful situation leaves you energized and motivated to work better.

Related article: 
These Weird Words Contradict Themselves!

3. Catastrophe 

Rare Antonyms Catastrophe 
This next one blew our minds! While a catastrophe is a sudden devastating event, there’s also a word for an equally unexpected event good fortune. That word is eucatastrophe, pronounced as “you-catastrophe.” The term was invented by J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, in 1944. Tolkien used it to describe a sudden fortunate twist in the plot that results in a happy ending for the protagonist.

4. Automaton

Rare Antonyms Automaton
An automaton is any machine that can move on its own. A classic cuckoo clock, or any mechanical clock or watch, is a simple automaton, but there are also countless automata made to resemble animals or even humans, such as the 18th-century Peacock Clock or the Marie Antoinette Automaton. Even a robot vacuum is technically an automaton.
Of course, most of the objects we use on a daily basis don’t have the ability to propel themselves through space. Such a static object reliant on external forces for movement is called a heteromaton.

5. Nocturnal

Rare Antonyms Nocturnal
When I wake up in the middle of the night to drink a glass of water and see my cat having an extreme case of midnight “zoomies,” running around the apartment like crazy, I’m always reminded that cats are nocturnal animals.
Some people are nocturnal too, meaning that they are more active in the evening. Still, the majority of people are better described by the antonym of nocturnal - diurnal. This term describes an animal (or in our case a person) that is active during the day and asleep at night.

6. Euphemism

Rare Antonyms Euphemism
Before we describe its antonym, let’s define the word euphemism. This is a mild or polite word used to substitute a distasteful or overly blunt one, especially to avoid embarrassment or save face. A good example of this is the phrase let go when used instead of fired, as in “Jim was recently let go of his position as a salesman.”
The opposite of euphemism, then, is the use of a deliberately rude or impolite term instead of a perfectly benign one. This type of word is known as a dysphemism, and it’s often used for comic effect or to deliberately shock an audience. Calling cigarettes cancer sticks or postal mail snail mail are both examples of dysphemism.

7. Stockholm syndrome

Rare Antonyms Stockholm syndrome
Stockholm syndrome is the psychological attachment of hostages to their captors. The name of the syndrome originates from a bank robbery in Sweden in 1973, during which a bank employee who was taken hostage became romantically attached to a robber. And if this psychological phenomenon isn’t mind-boggling on its own, let me add that there is an opposite phenomenon too.
Dubbed Lima syndrome, it refers to a scenario where the criminal develops sympathy for the hostage and lets them go. Lima syndrome comes from a real-life hostage situation that occurred in Lima, Peru, in 1996. The local militia took hundreds of people hostage at the residence of Japan’s ambassador to Peru but freed them within a few hours.

Related article: 
16 Confusing Words That Even Intellectuals Get Wrong

8. Postpone

Rare Antonyms Postpone
Here’s a useful one you can certainly use the next time someone tries to postpone an important appointment or meeting you’ve been waiting for a long time. Instead of postponing it, or delaying the meeting to a later time or date, why not prepone it? As you can guess, this means to bring a date or time forward in time.

9. Anonymous

Rare Antonyms Anonymous
When someone prefers to keep their name unknown, such as an author or witness, they remain anonymous. This word has its roots in Greek and can be translated as “without a name.” So, what would you call someone who seeks recognition? Onymous is the word opposite of anonymous, and chances are, this is the first time you read this word. That’s because this word is typically reserved for legal and publishing settings, especially in authorship documents.

10. Placebo

Rare Antonyms Placebo
As you likely know, the placebo effect refers to an improvement in a patient’s condition after they were given sugar pills or any other “dummy” medication or treatment. In Latin, placebo means “I shall please.” But there’s also an opposite phenomenon to the placebo effect that’s lesser known.
It’s called the nocebo effect, and it describes the case when a patient feels worse after the administration of an entirely harmless treatment. As you can predict, nocebo means “I shall harm” in Latin. The nocebo effect may even be stronger than the placebo effect, as negative perceptions can be formed faster than positive ones. Just remember the last time you read words like fatigue, dizziness, and headaches on the side effects list of medication and suddenly experienced all of them for a brief moment.
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