Learn English – What’s the term describing employer-employee and similar role relations


What do you call a word relation such as employer-employee, parent-child, teacher-student or doctor-patient, i.e. the relation between two roles that are dependent on each other? You can generally only be an employee if there is an employer, you can only be a parent if there is a child (as in offspring, not minor), etc.

For some reason, I find the term antonym too general since the term I'm looking for would be for describing a very specific relationship between roles.

Best Answer

Quite a late answer, but Wikipedia calls such pairs "Converses" or "Relational Antonyms"

In linguistics, converses or relational antonyms are pairs of words that refer to a relationship from opposite points of view, such as parent/child or borrow/lend. The relationship between such words is called a converse relation. Converses can be understood as a pair of words where one word implies a relationship between two objects, while the other implies the existence of the same relationship when the objects are reversed. [3] Converses are sometimes referred to as complementary antonyms because an "either/or" relationship is present between them. One exists only because the other exists.