Converse Terms

By Sharon

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I’ve been reading a book on linguistics recently. During the process I have discovered some new terminology, such as converse terms. This phrase describes pairs of words where one word reverses the relationship that is denoted by the first.

As someone else put it, there’s a relationship of equivalence. In other words, if you are my mother, then I have to be your daughter. If I am standing over a bridge, then the bridge is under my feet. Here are some more examples:

  • ancestor and descendant
  • before and after
  • bequeath and inherit
  • buy and sell
  • doctor and patient
  • employer and employee
  • father and son
  • give and receive
  • guest and host
  • husband and wife
  • infer and imply
  • lend and borrow
  • parents and children
  • predator and prey
  • sister and brother
  • teach and learn
  • teacher and student
  • trainer and trainee

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6 Responses to “Converse Terms”

  • Brad K.

    Blog and lurk?

    post and respond
    publish and peruse
    write and read
    send (or transmit) and receive

    shooter and target
    pull and push

  • Tony

    Re Converse Terms.
    ‘…if you are my mother, then I have to be your daughter.’
    As I am the son of my mother where does that leave me????

  • Sharon Hurley Hall

    It works for both terms, Tony. If you are saying the phrase it would be ‘if you are my mother, then I have to be your son.’ 🙂

    Thanks for the additions, Brad

  • Psychic Advice

    Great blog, subscribed to your rss feed. Thanks.

  • Beelissa

    deluge and drought
    wet and dry
    humid and arid
    sunshine and cloudburst

    Can you tell it’s raining here?

  • Czenko

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    I just got a look at this here blog, and it looks useful. Maybe I’ll check back regularly just like the other 10,000 people 😉

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