Are you familiar with contronyms? another learning session from Marte....
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.
- 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
Priest River, Idaho