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We all know that many words can be made opposite by adding 'un' or 'ir' in front, but have you ever heard of opposites made by adding other letters in the middle?

I've given the letters that you need to add, and you need to come up with the words. The order of the letters cannot be changed, so you are simply adding the letter somewhere in the middle of the word to make a new word that is the 'opposite' of the first.

All words are English.

  1. N
  2. Li

Hint for #1:

Authority -> non-Authority

Hint for #2:

Known -> unknowing

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    $\begingroup$ Usually no need for hints quite so soon after posting... $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan May 30 at 13:12
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I think #2 is

Obvious -> Oblivious

Although those aren't really opposites, as the first means "readily apparent" while the second means "unaware of what is readily apparent", rather than "hidden or obscured".

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  • $\begingroup$ That is correct! Kind of why I put opposites in quotes. They are unconventional opposites for more than one reason. $\endgroup$ – Trenin May 30 at 13:31
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For #1:

A goer is something viable, or someone active. A goner is something inviable, or someone who is going nowhere because they're about to die. | An owner is someone to whom a thing belongs. An ower is someone to whom it doesn't belong, who has to give it back. | A diner eats while a dinner is eaten. | If you don't mind rather antiquated English and also don't mind contractions, I bet I can find "Do't!" (do it) in Shakespeare (... I checked, and yes I can), and of course "don't!" would be an excellent way to contradict that instruction. | If something is unpraised then it will not be upraised (at least not in the sense of "exalted"). | Oh, and here's an unequivocal pair of opposites: aesthesia (the capacity to sense things) and anesthesia (what you get when that is taken away).

For #2, a pile of not-really-opposites (but I don't find the "official" answer very convincing either, I'm afraid):

Not exactly opposites, but I like the fact that we have Bern and Berlin. An alkane is never alkaline but these aren't opposites either. If you're in a fight then your opponent's deadliness corresponds to your own likely deadness, but that's some way from a real pair of opposites. I suppose acyclic and alicyclic are almost opposites, but "alicyclic" = "not acyclic AND ALSO aliphatic". A case of alliteration is one where a certain sort of alteration (change of consonant) isn't there, but again not really opposites.

(Note: I am using computer assistance, which may be disqualifying depending on @Trenin's intentions.)


The following were found when I was under the misapprehension that #2 was looking for LL rather than LI. The first is mostly a joke.

Troops are mostly men, do their work standing up, and are highly thought of in society even though they harm others for a living. Trollops, on the other hand, are mostly women, do their work lying down, and are disdained by society even though they please others for a living. | What is leveed is raised up in an embankment. What is levelled is made flat.

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    $\begingroup$ Is it not "li"? $\endgroup$ – hexomino May 30 at 13:25
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    $\begingroup$ Oh I thought it's li instead of ll.. $\endgroup$ – athin May 30 at 13:25
  • $\begingroup$ Huh, so it is. OK then. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan May 30 at 13:28
  • $\begingroup$ Great answers!! I was intending Li though. Should have included LL as well! $\endgroup$ – Trenin May 30 at 13:30
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    $\begingroup$ Oooo... I never thought there would be multiple answers. These are great! Not the ones I was thinking of, but no less good. Too bad I can't upvote you more than once! $\endgroup$ – Trenin May 30 at 13:32
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This fits for 1.N:

Authority -> non-Authority → Uniformed -> uninformed

An example would be a Duce (uniformed leader) as opposed to a dunce (uninformed).

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  • $\begingroup$ Lovely pair of pairings, though I hope it's not the intended answer because the "opposite" relation is a bit contrived in both cases. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan May 30 at 13:57
  • $\begingroup$ @GarethMcCaughan This is actually the intended answer. Sorry to disappoint Gareth. It did say unconventional in the title... Although of the two, this is more accurately an opposite. Someone who is uniformed is a person of authority. Someone who is uninformed is a person of no authority. $\endgroup$ – Trenin May 30 at 14:04
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    $\begingroup$ @Trenin unfortunately, you don't have to look very far to find uninformed persons in positions of authority.... $\endgroup$ – Hellion May 30 at 14:23
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    $\begingroup$ A private soldier is uniformed but has about as little authority as anyone you care to mention. Or a supermarket checkout attendant. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan May 30 at 14:26
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    $\begingroup$ @GarethMcCaughan Both of those have authority. If a soldier tells me to do something, I will likely do it. If the checkout attendant tells me how much my groceries are, I am not going to negotiate. But I get your point; not all people in uniform are figures of authority. $\endgroup$ – Trenin May 30 at 15:05

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