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DefinedMeaning talk:die (6245)

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This article (die (6245)) needs attention because:
The antonym of "to die" is IMO not "to live" but "to be born". --dh 20:16, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
It has been added to this category for attention. Thank you for your patience.


Hmm, I have been also thinking about antonyms some days ago. Something like: are antonyms unique or not. Schematically (and abstractly) : if a definition says "something that has features A and B", the antonym could be "something that has features A and not B", or "not A but B", or "not A nor B". I had an example for this, but I forgot.

Now, in the particular case of live/die/be born, I see:

  • live = to continue to be alive, which would be antonym to die "to stop to be alive"
  • be born = to start to be alive, which is antonym of die "to stop to be alive"
  • or even "resurrect" which can be considered as reversing the process of dying could be consider as an antonym of "to die".

So, I am wondering if there is a hole in my reasoning, or if that means that we need 3 antonyms in 3 different directions. --Kipcool 22:28, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

As far as I know, antonyms are exclusive pairs (bidirectional), that is, something is either A or its antonym B (Examples: high or low, warm or cold). If something can be both A and B at the same time, then A and B are not antonyms. Further I believe that anything that does not come in pairs are called siblings. But it's only a believe (linguists needed!). Examples are red, blue, yellow etc.
Now, the process or act of "to die" is part of live (people only die while they are alive and not while they are dead), this means someone has to live in order to be able to die, therefore they are not antonyms but "to die" entails "to live"! And the antonym of "to live" is rather "to be dead" and not "to die".
The same is true for "to be born", though now we are getting philosophical (and eventually political) since "being born" is actually not "to start living" but only "exiting the womb and starting a biological independent live". In fact, nothing starts to live! Life is a continous process and what we mean by "starting to live" is actually "starting to exist as a person", and as we all know there is not really a consense as to when exactly a human is a human. At birth? At conception? Three month after conception? Four month? Three and a half? Personally I am of the opinion that the only sane thing is to consider the moment of conception as the moment someone "starts to exist as a persona", which would mean that if "to die" is "ceasing to exist (as a person)", its antonym is not "to be born" but "to be conceived". Who said creating an ontology is easy?
Even more tricky are things like "male" and "female", because on first sight they appear to be clear antonyms, but, nature has it that there are cases where the gender is not clear (though at least in Germany doctors are forced by law to decide on a gender at birth!), which means that there are either three (or even more) genders - male, female, hermaphrodite - or it is possible for a being to be of both male and female gender at the same time. I tend to take the latter as true, that is, there are only two genders but someone can have the characteristics of both, or in other words, can be both male and female. This would mean that if my assumption that antonyms are exclusive is correct, male and female are not antonyms. But even if the former is true, that is, male, female and hermaphrodite are all genders, then, again if my assumptions are correct, their relationship is not antonymous but that of siblings.
Regarding resurection I would prefer to keep metaphysics or believe and generally accepted or observable natural phenomenons apart. If we go into this, then we would need to redifine everything else that has been said about life and death as then "to die" would not be defined as "to cease to exist" but rather something like "to pass over to the other world", and "to be born" (or conceived) would not be "to start to exist" or "to come to live" but "to be created by god" and since all religions differ in their metaphysics, we would probably never come to a universally accepted definition. Though one could probably create DMs of life and death etc. and define them from a Christian, or Buddhist or whatever point of view. --dh 04:40, 26 February 2010 (UTC)
We must as well consider poetic, and figurative uses. So, eg., a fire can die; ecosystems, such as rivers or lakes die (at least in some languges); when the final take of a movie, or scene, was taken, the director may say that "the scene has died" in several languages, etc. Well, we can and have to create quite many contextual definitions of "to die" which of course include those having one or another religious connotation. That is what our beginning semantic web is for, with annotations like "theme". --Purodha Blissenbach 20:28, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
I don't know if "antonym" is the right word, but definedMeanings, in a given language, are implicitly defined by opposition with other definedMeaning(s), often more than one, as a country is defined by its boundaries with other countries, often more that one. For instance "France" stops where "Germany" begins, but also where international waters of "Atlantic ocean" begins, where "Spain" begins etc., and in History, "France" began when "Roman Gaul" finished. To define the word "France", we need even more implicit limits. For instance "France" stops where the nation is not implied as such. "Michelin" is a French company, but is not "France". Here, we reach the limit of the definedMeaning "nation", whose "France" is a copy. "Michelin" is not a direct opposite of "France", because this is the more general opposition between "country" and "legal entity". The definedMeaning "Ape" stops where "lemur" begins, and also where "lion" begins but the latter is not a direct opposition, because it is the more general opposition between "primate" and "carnivore" (Well, Wikispecies would say an opposition between "Laurasiatherian" and "Euarchontoglire".). "To die", is clearly opposed to "to live", as its last limit, so is also linked with, and even included in the definedMeaning of "to live". It is because a stone doesn't live, that we cannot say that it dies. So "to die" is opposed to "to be an inanimate being" and even to "to be dead", but these 2 are not direct oppositions, because they are included in the more general oppositions between "to live" and "to be an inanimate being", between "to live" and "to be dead". Dh, what you say about resurrection is, to my mind, irrelevant: the meanings of words don't depend much on the reality. "To reincarnate" has a meaning, hypernyms, antonyms etc., whether or not anybody ever reincarnated or not. Purodha, what you say is about synonyms, other definedMeanings of "to die".
This still doesn't solve the problem of "antonym". In both English and French Wikipedia, there is a good classification of antonymy. As far as I understand it, gradable antonyms (like "hot"-"cold") and complementary antonyms (like "absence"-"presence") can only concern qualifying words (adjective, adverbs) or abstract words, and such antonyms are antonyms by design, by definition. Only relational antonyms can regard concrete words (concrete nouns, concrete verbs) but such an antonymy may be conventional or context-dependent, like "Sun"-"Moon". So some linguists don't use the word "antonym" for this last case. I suggest we replace the word "antonym" by "semantic opposite" to make it clear we use the broad meaning (See English wikipedia.) --Fiable.biz (talk) 10:56, 18 January 2015 (CET)
In grammar, you can have even more than three genders. :-)
The words 'dead' and 'alive' can be used synonymously to 'animate' and 'inanimate' in some contexts, but to 'already deceased' or 'not deceased yet' in others, and there are more such pairs, of course.
If you have a 'state changing' operation, yo may have no reverse operation, as you may know, when you ever accidentally filled up a half-empty sugar bowl with salt. Language of course reflects this, too.
Perceived opposites may exist, when there are only exactly two commonly known meronymes, such as in the 'male' / 'female' dichtomy, but beware, very often, they are only superficially so, as in the biological 'male' / 'female' / 'hermaphrodic' / 'genderless' / 'genderchanging' / whatever else there is example. Context influences or determines meanings.
Conclusion: If you need to have precision, you must separate semantics until only irrelevant ambiguities remain. That is, 'dead' may mean 'deceased', or 'inanimate', or 'living in hell or heaven', or 'having crossed the river Styx', or whatever, and we may have to collect separate meanings until we have accommodated the semantics of all languages and cultures that have at least one word and/or meaning for 'dead'.
--Purodha Blissenbach (talk) 17:08, 18 January 2015 (CET)
You wrote "Perceived opposites may exist, when there are only exactly two commonly known meronymes": these are called "relational antonyms".
We had a discussion about connotations: Help_talk:DefinedMeaning#Connotations.2C_level_of_language.2C_degree_of_specialisation.2C_idiomaticity_and_degree_of_accuracy, and you are encourage to vote on the same page. --Fiable.biz (talk) 03:06, 19 January 2015 (CET)