besides has two definitions in the dictionary

one is apart from (except)

and second is in addition to

I was wondering aren't these two antonyms??

  1. Apart from when in the negative. There's no one here besides Bill and me.
  2. In addition to when in the affirmative. Besides a mother he has a sister to support.
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  • lol and someone told me besides is an auto antonym – user80037 Aug 5 '18 at 7:22

The form "besides ... only" also invokes the "apart from" meaning.

Besides battleships, only aircraft carriers are considered "capital ships".

In fact, in this case "besides" means both apart from and in addition to.

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