Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Words that are their own opposites

I found this article about words that are their own opposites and it absolutely made my day. Such fun!

Did you know there is actually a term to describe such words? “Contronyms”—words that are their own antonyms.

The article opens with this: “Because of the agency’s oversight, the corporation’s behavior was sanctioned.” Does that mean, 'Because the agency oversaw the company’s behavior, they imposed a penalty for some transgression' or does it mean, 'Because the agency was inattentive, they overlooked the misbehavior and gave it their approval by default'?

Mental Floss lists 25 contronyms but I’m sure you can find more.

One of my favorites is Trim. It can mean either adding or taking away. Are you decorating something or taking bits of it off. And the context doesn’t always make it clear. If you’re trimming the tree are you using tinsel or a chain saw?

For all 25 contronyms go here:

Helen Woodall

Helen is available to line edit and/ or content edit fiction and non-fiction. Rates on application.

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