## Meaning of 真逆, how it is different from 逆

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[真]{ま}[逆]{ぎゃく} (not [真]{ま}[逆]{さか}, which is an interjection standardly used) is another 若者言葉, or an expression that is used mainly by young generation (with low education level) that makes me feel uncomfortable.

逆 is a polarity notion; Something can be either the original (元), or the opposite (逆). There is no intermediate values like "half-way opposite", hence no room for quantitative/qualitative notions like genuine (真) or fake/quasi (偽) to come into play. I have no idea what meaning 真 is adding to 逆. How is 真逆 different from 逆? How would you justify the addition of 真 to 逆?

2I always thought it was something similar to adding 真っ to 逆さま and 正 to 反対... the reading of まぎゃく sounds awkward to me though. – None – 2012-03-16T18:20:32.387

3Just another thought: does slang have to be justified? – summea – 2012-03-16T21:04:07.577

1An analogous argument to yours seems to deny the difference between 反対 and 正反対. In fact, I have been assuming that まぎゃく is a slang for 正反対 and so far it seems that this assumption has been good enough to understand the intent of the speaker. – Tsuyoshi Ito – 2012-03-16T23:59:19.713

1I agree with Chocolate and TsuyoshiIto that the same argument applies to 真っ逆さま and 正反対. And I actually do wonder the same thing with these examples, although it is true that I do not feel discomfort with these examples as I do with 真逆, and am wondering why I feel different. – None – 2012-03-17T02:21:25.793

4Perhaps you dislike it because (a) it is new, and associated with a sociolect you dislike, and/or (b) it is a (native) Japanese prefix attached to a Sino-Japanese morpheme, which is not unheard of but less common than other patterns. – Matt – 2012-03-17T09:20:51.343

@Matt I think you are right. – None – 2012-03-17T15:08:37.267

Could it be that the expression comes from wilfully mis-pronouncing the (somewhat rare) kanji spelling of まさか? In fact, when I read your post, I assumed you were talking about 真逆【まさか】until I saw comments referring to まぎゃく. Anyway, まさか is standard Japanese (afaik), and まぎゃく roughly means the same... So it would make sense to me, but maybe I am completely missing the point. – Dave – 2012-03-19T00:46:23.003

@Dave Yes. I was referring to まぎゃく. When it is read as まさか, it is like an interjection, and means a different thing. – None – 2012-03-19T02:23:02.293

@sawa: Yes, I got that from the comments... But precisely: while I'm not very familiar with まぎゃく, its meaning seems to be "exact/very opposite", whereas まさか means something along the line of "by no means!, never!" (basically, an exclamation of denial)... Although they serve very different grammatical functions, I don't see their meanings as so different (and it could have explained how the slang term came to be). But that was only an observation and a wild guess... – Dave – 2012-03-19T02:54:33.390

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真逆 seems very similar to the expression "total opposite" in English.

I think we can take 真 here to be an intensifier/emphasis rather than something that affects the meaning. It emphasizes that something is not just 少し違う, but in fact 逆.

I'd even say that not even 真逆 requires you to be absolutely precise. Let's say someone wanted to head east (0°). West (180°) would be 逆. If you saw them going in essentially entirely the wrong direction -- almost due west -- you might want to use 真逆 to emphasize how badly they're going wrong, even if their true course isn't exactly 180°.

It's an abuse of terminology, technically, but I think this is how the language is used.