Can the prefix anti- be used with anything? I was amazed looking at the list here which uses anti- with almost everything - verb, noun, adjective and what not!

Further confusion is may I prefix anti- to a proper noun as well? For instance, if Tom is extrovert and Dick is exactly opposite to Tom (introvert); is he Anti-Tom?

Does anti- always mean terminating/ending/vandalizing? In Tom and Dick's case, it is certainly not.

  • I can't think of any verbs that directly contain anti-, nor can I think of what it would mean to, say, antiwalk or antifeed something. The only exceptions I find in my word list are anticipate and antique, and neither was formed directly by affixing anti- to a verb. You can prefix anti- to nouns, however, including forms of verbs that act like nouns (gerunds such as walking, for example.)
    – user230
    Feb 20, 2014 at 6:19
  • @snailplane There must be... two comes easily to my mind (being a healthcare provider!) antiaging and anticlotting and could be antifogging?
    – Maulik V
    Feb 20, 2014 at 6:28
  • That's covered by my last sentence, where I wrote "including forms of verbs that act like nouns (gerunds such as walking, for example.)" You can have anti-aging cream because aging is treated like a noun, but you can't anti-age someone.
    – user230
    Feb 20, 2014 at 6:31
  • Oh yeah. that's true. I'll try to search anti + direct verb.
    – Maulik V
    Feb 20, 2014 at 6:35

2 Answers 2


1) No, a beginner should check in a dictionary. The way it is being used will be slightly different for different words. The meaning is fixed and may not be what you imagine.

2) Yes. For example it is possible to be anti-Thatcher.

3) No. Nobody would know in what way Dick is anti-Tom. It would usually mean Dick doesn't like Tom.

4) anti- means opposite/against.

As an anti- word becomes more established the hyphen may be omitted e.g. anti-Semitic is now often written antisemitic. This is less likely if omitting the hyphen would make reading difficult eg anti-aircraft.

Some words beginning with anti- are never used without the prefix eg antipathy, (which is related to empathy and sympathy), these may also have a different pronunciation of anti-.


"anti" cannot be used with everything. You can stick to the list and build on it. For a non-formal situation you can use "anti-" with a term to mean the negative of the term. But this is not universal and this may not accepted in many formal cases.

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