The question is quite straightforward - I did not include my research as it only resulted in synonyms for the word "opposite".

The context is that something is completely different to what you expected it to be and suddenly you feel the urge to exclaim: "Oh, that's exactly the opposite".

Or even if you are arguing with someone and they have a completely different idea of what the situation is, so you want to tell them that everything is... well, exactly the opposite, ha-ha!

Thank you for helping me in advance! #NonNative

3 Answers 3


I like the expression au contraire. Though, to be completely frank with you, this one is not super common in everyday conversational English (I have a feeling that only very good and eloquent speakers of English would use this expression). The phrase au contraire, as you might have already guessed, is an expression of French origin and it basically (even literally) means on the contrary or on the opposite or adverse side. Here's a typical usage example:

You think that because I'm a rock musician, I'm dumb and I don't understand anything about classical music. Au contraire! I do enjoy listening to Mozart and Bach a lot. In fact, when I was a kid, I went to music school for a number of years where I learned how to play piano and other orchestral instruments.

The expression, by the way, has exactly that exclamatory feel to it that you're looking for.


If you are looking for an idiomatic expression you may say that it is just

the other way round:

  • You use the other way around or the other way round to refer to the opposite of what you have just said.

(Collins Dictionary)


I would say something like "You (got / have) it backward."

Strangely, this phrase isn't referenced in any dictionary or at any English usage site. That aside, I was able to find a lot of hits for it (something I've heard all the time), but I couldn't find any that were authoritative enough to give a link to.

The meaning is really no different than the standard definition of backward itself:


2 a : in a reverse or contrary direction or way
// Count backward from 10.

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