Do you use contronyms? Hint: the answer is yes.

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

Are you now asking what the heck is a contronym? When I read the word this morning on www.merriam-webster.com I sure didn’t know.

It turns out, a contronym is “a word with a homonym (another word with the same spelling but different meaning) that is also an antonym (words with opposite meanings)”

  • For example, to dust can mean to remove the dust from your home, or to sprinkle powdered sugar over your cake.
  • If something is finished, it could be completed or destroyed. clip together
  • If you’re bound, it could mean you’re heading to a destination, or you’ve been restrained from movement.
  • You can clip two pieces of paper together, or you can clip them apart.
  • A Handicap could be an advantage provided to ensure equality, or a disadvantage that prevents equal achievement.
  • You can trim a tree by adding ornaments or by removing branches.

When I got curious, I found a website that listed 75 examples. I didn’t quite agree with all of them, because they aren’t the way we commonly use words, but I wouldn’t argue.

However, there was a comment section, and some people do love to argue. One of the silliest things I read was:

“Nothingness. It is a noun, hence the subject of a verb but nothingness cannot be anything except nothingness. It cannot be a noun, nor verb, nor any word at all. Contradiction! So this word must be a delusion. I don’t think it should be in the dictionary unless people like being deceived.”

I think this commenter got confused over the fact that a word is a word, regardless of its definition.

Clip Image courtesy of elrivera at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Scissors Image courtesy of kibsri at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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Rainmaker
1,520,299
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Thank you Kathy Streib I always love to be included in your Sunday round-up.

Jun 22, 2019 08:07 PM #13
Rainmaker
1,467,801
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

Well thanks for increasing my vocabulary and giving me something to think about!  Very interesting.

Jun 23, 2019 12:43 PM #14
Rainmaker
1,520,299
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089 You're welcome. I hope you do better at remembering that new word than I do.

Jun 23, 2019 03:55 PM #15
Rainmaker
1,413,765
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

Interesting. I never heard this word before or even gave much thought to the same word having opposite meanings. Thanks for the information!

Jun 24, 2019 03:57 AM #16
Rainmaker
4,903,556
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team

Good mornign, Marte Cliff well, this is a new one for me.... thanks for learning session and I'll check out the other words.... 

Jun 24, 2019 04:05 AM #17
Rainmaker
3,209,664
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

n interesting word study and we learned a new one e!

Jun 24, 2019 04:09 AM #18
Rainmaker
3,076,441
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Congrats on being featured by Kathy this week!  Great post!

Jun 24, 2019 06:49 AM #19
Rainmaker
3,266,454
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Marte - wow - something else I learned and I "love" the controversy this topic incited when discussed online.  Oh, well.  

Jun 24, 2019 08:54 AM #20
Rainmaker
1,520,299
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Kat Palmiotti I had never heard it before either. I've often thought it must be dificult to learn English as a second language because we have so many words that are spelled alike or sound alike, but with far different meanings.

Barbara Todaro Many of the words are so common that we don't think about them. We know the meaning from the context.

 

Jun 24, 2019 09:56 AM #21
Rainmaker
1,520,299
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Sally K. & David L. Hanson Since I enjoy words, it's fun for me to learn that there is a part of speech that I'd never heard of.

Thanks Kristin Johnston - REALTOR® 

Michael Jacobs I always love reading the comments after a post. Many great discussions here on AR.

Jun 24, 2019 09:57 AM #22
Rainmaker
2,492,870
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Well at least "contronym" isn't something that person needs to visit a doctor for, and receive an antibiotic to cure!

Jun 25, 2019 04:08 PM #23
Rainmaker
1,520,299
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Myrl Jeffcoat Thanks for the giggle. It does sorta sound like that, doesn't it?

Jun 25, 2019 04:29 PM #24
Rainmaker
330,332
Dana Basiliere
Rossi & Riina Real Estate - Williston, VT
Making deals "Happen"

Marte,

That commenter probably doesn't believe "space" is a word either, as it can be nothing but space.  (chuckling)  I do like the new word you introduced us to. 

 

Jun 25, 2019 06:07 PM #25
Rainmaker
1,520,299
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Dana Basiliere I know - isn't that crazy. A word is a word. It exists, no matter what it describes. I couldn't quite follow that person's reasoning, but it did make for a good chuckle.

Jun 25, 2019 06:33 PM #26
Ambassador
3,935,485
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Marte:

I supposed I have used them without knowing it, or haave at least been aware of them. Just one more thing that can make our English language a challenge to learn.

Jeff

Jun 25, 2019 07:59 PM #27
Rainmaker
1,520,299
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Jeff Dowler, CRS Thankfully, we aren't required to know the names of all the parts of speech - we only need to use them correctly.

Jun 25, 2019 08:22 PM #28
Ambassador
460,500
Keith McMullin
Port Aransas Realty - Port Aransas, TX
Port Aransas Real Estate

Thank you!  I learned something new today.  I never knew there was a term for these words.

Jun 28, 2019 04:52 PM #29
Rainmaker
1,520,299
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

I didn't know it either, Keith McMullin. That's one reason why I shared it.

Jun 28, 2019 09:03 PM #30
Rainmaker
970,924
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Love this post Marte.  It makes you stop and think after you read it.  Especially about Nothingness!

Jul 02, 2019 06:26 PM #31
Rainmaker
1,520,299
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Hi Jan Green - I did get a chuckle over the person who complained about nothingness. Would she say the same about absent, void, or just plain nothing?

Jul 02, 2019 07:01 PM #32
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