Converse Terms

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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 thoughts on “Converse Terms”

  1. 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????

  2. 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

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