Monthly Archives: August 2011

Contranyms, Pt. 2. More words that contradict themselves

“Oversight” and “sanction” are far from the only English words that are their own antonyms. In the last post I referred to these two-faced words as “contranyms,” which is the most common term for them. But word buffs love coining … Continue reading

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Words That Are Their Own Opposites

In Through the Looking Glass Humpty Dumpty told Alice, “When I use a word…it means just what I choose it to mean.” Communicating with Humpty Dumpty must be like playing Ping Pong in the dark. But have you ever stumbled … Continue reading

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Da Funk Is Not Defunct

How can something be “defunct” when it was never “funct” in the first place? “Defunct” sounds like something that’s had the funk removed from it, like a freshly laundered pair of jeans or a Musak version of a James Brown … Continue reading

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