Find a pair of English words each of which can be a noun, verb, adjective, or adverb such that:

  • as nouns, adjectives, and adverbs, they're opposite in meaning
  • as verbs, they have the same meaning

(I'm pretty sure the answer to this is unique.)

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ There are only so many possibilities $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 18:39
  • $\begingroup$ Ahah, I'm checking that list too, but I haven't found the pair...yet! $\endgroup$
    – leoll2
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 18:41

2 Answers 2


My answer is:

Best and Worst.


As verbs, they both mean to "get the better of" or "defeat" someone.
As nouns, adverbs, and adjectives, they are clearly opposite.


  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I've heard of besting somebody, but how does one worst them? $\endgroup$
    – user88
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 19:56
  • $\begingroup$ @JoeZ. Same thing. Well done, Cubicon! I'll accept, and +1 when I can. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 19:59
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, rand. Joe, I've added links to definitions from dictionary.reference.com. $\endgroup$
    – Cubicon
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 20:00
  • $\begingroup$ Is there a usage of the words as verbs without suffixes? $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 20:39
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Cubicon I guess "I will worst you" just doesn't sound like a sentence to me. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 21:07

I would say

Plump and Pat

As verbs
Both share the meaning of "to touch with hands"

As adverbs
Pat means "opportunely, appropriately", while Plump means "with a heavy fall". Not exact opposites, but a heavy fall is never appropriate!

As nouns
Pat means "a light stroke with the hand" while Plump means "an abrupt plunge". The pain is very different, you see!

As adjectives
Plump means "round, with smooth edges" and Pat means "too simple, unconvincing, rough". Rough and smooth are opposites!

  • $\begingroup$ Not really opposites (although different) as nouns, adverbs, or adjectives. Nice try though :-) $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 19:59

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