Antonymy - статья на английском языке

A large number of words listed as antonyms fall into two well-known logical categories, those of contradictory terms (or contradictories) and contrary terms (or contraries).
(1) Contradictory terms are so opposed to each other that they are mutually exclusive and admit no possibility between them. If either is true, the other must be false; if either is false, the other must be true. Examples:— A thing is either perfect or imperfect: no matter how slight or how extensive the imperfection, the fact remains that the thing cannot be called perfect if any flaw, blemish, or defect exists. If a person is asked for his opinion, he may agree with that of others, or he may disagree, or differ: it is unimportant whether the disagreement is radical or superficial or the difference concerns a major or a very minor point: he cannot be said to agree.
(2) Contrary terms are so opposed in meaning that the language admits no greater divergence. They are the true "diametrical opposites". But they must be of or must apply to things of the same genus or fundamental kind. Thus, white and black represent the extremes in color, the former, as popularly understood, implying the absorption of all colors and the latter implying the privation of every vestige of color. Prodigal and parsimonious represent extremes in expenditure (chiefly of money), but prodigal implies excessive extravagance and parsimonious excessive frugality. Superiority and inferiority represent extremes judged by a standard of what is good. Between these extremes represented by each of these pairs of examples, there are many words which may more truly describe or designate the person or thing in question.
Other classes are the following:
(3) Many words are listed as antonyms that normally appear in pairs. Some are what the logicians calls relative terms, pairs of words which indicate such a relationship that one of them cannot be used without suggesting the other; as parent and child, husband and wife, predecessor and successor, employee and employer. Others are complementary terms involving, usually, a reciprocal relation or the incompleteness of one unless the other follows: as, question and answer, attack and defend, stimulus and response.
(4) An important class of words sometimes listed in antonymies may be called for want of a better name reverse terms: these comprise adjectives or adverbs which signify a quality or verbs or nouns which signify an act or state that reverse or undo the quality, act, or state of the other. Although they are neither contradictory nor contrary terms, they present a clear opposition. Their addition is usually justified in this way: if the antonym of admit is reject, what shall we do with eject which implies not the negative, but the reverse of admit?: if the antonym of destructive is harmless, must we ignore constructive, which goes further and implies either the reverse or the undoing of destructive? Many words of the reverse type are often equal in value, sometimes they are even stronger than the first.
(5) There is still a class of words listed as antonyms, which are neither contradictories nor contraries, nor reverse terms, which do, however, present a sharp contrast — for example, such pairs as rich and destitute, dry and moist, and keep and abandon. This is one of the most perplexing of classes and one that appears very frequently in antonym lists. Such words may be designated contrasted terms. We shall return to them later.
(6) The last class of so-called antonyms is very inclusive. Words in this class might be called "loosely contrasted terms", since, when they are presented side by side with the word of which they are given as antonyms, they never fully clash but show a difference in only a small part of their meaning (as, abstruse and superficial, frank and hypocritical, vigilant and careless). For the sake of uniformity, however, we will call them incompatibles for they usually cannot both at the same time be said of or applied to the same person or thing...
(From Webster's New Dictionary of Synonyms "Antonym: Analysis and Definition")