# In what shape do opposites exist?

A common notion is that the opposite of “cold” is “warm” and that the opposite of “slow” is “fast”.

Would it be equally correct to say that the opposite of “cold” is “fast”?

How come that most people do seem to have a “natural feeling” for what the opposite of something is? Why is it “common sense” that the opposite of “fast” should be “slow”?

There is a similar post on here:

Can a complete opposite even exist?

But this doesn’t quite answer my question.

I’m asking this question because I’ve watched a physics video on the internet which was more or less unrelated to this topic but somehow “opposites” were mentioned and it was explained that these are just opposites because they were defined this way and aren’t really absolute ones. Unfortunately that’s all I can remember and I can’t find this video anymore therefore I decided to present this question here and I hope someone can get me on that train of thought again.

Thanks.

• "Opposites" occur when there is a one-dimensional range of parameter values and the two place at its ends, usually vague. The parameter is speed for fast/slow, temperature for warm/cold, etc. The meanings of adjectives determine what the parameter is, and context determines where the ends are ("fast/slow" is different for humans vs cars, for example, this is where the relativity comes from). The “natural feeling” is just mastery of language, knowing connotations of dictionary words and context cues to surmise the relevant range. Nov 22, 2023 at 5:57
• Please clarify your specific problem or provide additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it's hard to tell exactly what you're asking. Nov 22, 2023 at 7:42
• "fast", "slow", "cold", etc are defined in colloquial language by comparing things to one another. 40km/h is pretty fast for a human being, not so for a car, 80 degres celcius hot for bath water but rather cold for an oven. However, there is an absolute cold (-273 c) in the sense that nothing can be colder. Nov 22, 2023 at 8:37