How many groups of opposite words are there?

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How many groups of opposite words are there?

Postby scratch123 » Wed Aug 17, 2011 5:00 pm UTC

For example:

0/1
positive/negative
hot/cold
man/woman
inside/outside
up/down
space/time (opposites in computational complexity theory)
privacy/security
time/accuracy (approximation algorithms)

Also how are these groups of opposite words related. For example are the words "space" or "time" more related to 0 or 1. The last 3 in the list are considered tradeoffs so how many tradeoffs in general exist in the world. In general how similar are groups of opposite words to one another.
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Re: How many groups of opposite words are there?

Postby Makri » Wed Aug 17, 2011 6:56 pm UTC

I'd like to say their number is infinity, although that can't really be. The thing is, there is no point whatsoever in trying to denumerate them, because the human brain is extremely good at creatively finding patterns and analogy.
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Re: How many groups of opposite words are there?

Postby Lazar » Wed Aug 17, 2011 6:58 pm UTC

Yeah, I'm pretty sure that this is impossible to quantify. And even if it were possible, it would be pointless.
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Re: How many groups of opposite words are there?

Postby xkcdfan » Wed Aug 17, 2011 8:36 pm UTC

Man and woman aren't actually opposites, although many dyadic, binary cisgender people would like to believe they are.
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Re: How many groups of opposite words are there?

Postby Shivahn » Thu Aug 18, 2011 4:18 am UTC

Neither are privacy and security.
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Re: How many groups of opposite words are there?

Postby Iulus Cofield » Thu Aug 18, 2011 5:35 am UTC

This is kind of the insoluble problem that brought down the attempts at 'philosophical languages', no?
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Re: How many groups of opposite words are there?

Postby gaurwraith » Thu Aug 18, 2011 9:31 am UTC

And also, "opposites" depends too much on the context..
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Re: How many groups of opposite words are there?

Postby wannabe » Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:49 pm UTC

How about narrowing the inquiry to words that have more that one meaning and so have more than one opposite. Though, as someone stated, whether something is truly an opposite is debatable. Also not really quantifiable, but funner!

pro - con
pro - amateur

blows - sucks
blows(is terrible) - rocks(is awesome)

straight - gay
straight - crooked

up(direction) - down
up(operational) - down
Disclaimer: I am not a scientist.
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Re: How many groups of opposite words are there?

Postby The Mockingbird » Thu Aug 18, 2011 9:14 pm UTC

Finding all the pairs is either possible or impossible, but I'm not sure which one. :D
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