I'm seriously struggling to identify a name for the relationship between such words.
They are transactional terms,of which there are two parts. They may even show tense.

John gave me an apple.
I got an apple from John.
I was given an apple by John.

I could buy it from you.
You could sell it too me.
John sold it to me.
I bought it from john.

I would have thought it was an antonym, but searching for "gave" didn't show me "got". Is there a special name for such opposing pairs?

  • I would say they have the same semantic representation. They are simply lexicalized differently.
    – fenceop
    Oct 18 '14 at 14:46
  • In other words, they are paraphrases.
    – fenceop
    Oct 18 '14 at 14:57
  • The structures are paraphrases, yes, they convey the same meaning. But I'm looking specifically at the verbs (got/gave, buy/sell, bought/sold etc.). Is there a special label/classification for words that convey semantic similarity but from opposing sides of a transaction? The only ones I can think of are verbs and require two participants.
    – a.nonimi
    Oct 18 '14 at 15:53
  • 2
    I think the term you're looking for is conversives.
    – fenceop
    Oct 18 '14 at 16:06
  • 2
    It's a whole lot more complicated than antonym or any single term can emcompass. You're dealing with several nested frames here -- Transfer, Barter, and Commercial Transaction -- and each one licenses terms in several different kinds of opposition. The basic frames and details are discussed here and here, in different contexts.
    – jlawler
    Oct 18 '14 at 19:30

We are looking at pairs like ‘buy’ ^ ‘sell’; ‘take’ ^ ‘give’; ‘come’ ^ ‘go’. I am not sure that there is name for this, but we are dealing with pairs of verbs with the same fundamental semantic content but opposite directionality. ‘Come’ means to move toward the speaker, ‘go’ means to move away from the speaker; ‘buy’ means to transfer an object into the possession of the speaker; ‘sell’ means to transfer it from the speaker to another person. In English we use two etymologically distinct words for ‘buy’ and ‘sell’, but German uses ‘kaufen’ and ‘verkaufen’, that is: ‘sell’ is ‘buy’ with a directional prefix. Compare English 'import' vs. 'export'. You will find the same sort of thing frequently in Russian.

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