Get it Both Ways: Words With Opposite Meanings

British can be a complicated language in many different ways, with words that are spelled the same but pronounced differently (such “lead” the factor and “lead” the verb) and words that are spelled out the same but spelled differently (like “threw” and “through”). But one extra layer of confusion comes from auto-antonyms, also called Janus words or contronyms. A great auto-antonym, also sometimes called a self-antonym, is anything at all that means to reverse things at the same time. The English dialect contains surprisingly numerous words that contain opposite symbolism, which can largely be attributed to the ever-shifting nature of words and their definitions. Can’t think of an auto-antonym off the top of the head? You’d be surprised how many words with reverse meanings you use every day without noticing it. Make sure that for anyone who is using these words in your writing, it’s very clear which definition you mean!


Sl?: You can bolt something down, which means that you’re securing it so it doesn’t move by any means, or you can so? toward the finished series, moving right away.

Buckle: In the event that you buckle a seat belt, you’re connecting 2 things, but if concrete buckles, it’s breaking aside.

Cleave: A married person should cleave with their loved one, which means that they should stick by them. But if you utilize an ax to cleave firewood, you’re splitting it away from each other.

Clip: A pair of scissors can be used to snap hair at the cosmetic salon, taking hair away. Although you can utilize a paper clip to show together papers, adding them into one bundle.

Dust particles: Housekeepers will dust a table to remove dust particles from a surface, while detectives will dust for fingerprints, which means that they’re adding dust to a surface.

Enjoin: It can really hard to inform what you wish if you guard anyone to do something. It might mean that you’re pleading with them to take action, but it might also show that if you’re forbidding them from doing it.

Fast: Runners wish to be fast if it means “quick, ” nonetheless they may need to be fast if it means “stuck in place. “

Fine: To get an extravagant dinner, pull out the fine china, the best dishes you have. However, for an everyday lunch, newspaper plates are fine, good enough.

Finished: It’s a good thing when a project is finished (completed), but if someone’s profession or reputation is completed, it’s been destroyed.

Problème: Although the word is slipping out of favor in this sense, a problème is still often considered to mean a downside or disability. But if you’re the game of golf, for illustration, you might be given a handicap, which is an advantage that places you ahead from the start.

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