Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Contranym

A contranym (or contronym or even autoantonym if you prefer) is a word for which there are two opposite or contradictory meanings.

As examples–

 'Left' can mean remaining or departed. When the girls left the room, the boys were left behind.

'Trim' can either mean adding or removing something. I trim my hat with flowers, but trim the hedge with shears. 

'Refrain' is either to stop or repeat depending on the context. I might sing the refrain, or refrain from singing. (If you're nearby, you'll prefer the latter.)

Can you think of more examples?

21 comments:

Lindsay said...

Didn't know that word. Thanks! And I have a hat just like that minus the flowers!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Patsy - interesting ... I had to cheat ... so I'll go with variety: a particular type, or many types ... but a great word to think about - and then the examples - cheers Hilary

fairyhedgehog said...

Cleave is one that has always bugged me. Does it mean cut apart or stick together? Make up your mind, word.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Can't think of any others at the moment. Then again, it's really early here...

Maggie May said...

I think Im right to turn right here.

Bea Charles said...

After dusting the kitchen bench with flour, I had to dust the window sill to remove the flour.

Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

ha

interesting

Rosemary Johnson said...

Thanks, Patsy. One I really don't know. I'll fit it into my next chapter.

Rosemary Johnson said...

Btw, really like the hat. Can I borrow it next time I go to a wedding, please?

Donna K. Weaver said...

Isn't it fascinating that some words can mean the opposite? Yeah, English ins't confusing at all. lol

Patsy said...

Does yours smell like a summer cornfield too, Lindsay?

Patsy said...

It's not cheating, Hilary - it's research!

Patsy said...

Good example!

Patsy said...

I'll let you off then, Alex.

Patsy said...

I hope you're right, otherwise going right will mean going wrong.

Patsy said...

And the rest of the kitchen, when I do it.

Patsy said...

It's a fun game, Mac.

Patsy said...

I've worn it to a couple of weddings myself, Rosemary. It goes with just about anything, if I add the right colour flowers.

Patsy said...

I really don't know why we stand for such madness, Donna.

Jacqui Murray said...

If you'd ask me if that was possible, I would have denied it. Very cool.

Patsy said...

I'm so pleased to have managed the apparently impossible!