Words that are their own antonym

Main Question or Discussion Point

I think it's quite funny (or at least slightly amusing on an otherwise boring day).

- egregious (used to refer to something that was exceptionally good, and slowly [possibly through sarcasm: "O, that's just GREAT"] it came to mean the exact opposite)

- nonplussed (technically means being completely shocked and perturbed, but many people use it more and more to mean blasé).

also the word silly, if you go way back, might fit into this category, though not as well as the other two.

I can't think of any others... there must be more. I really like this kind of stuff... maybe it'll be useful someday; I could write the most ambiguous story ever written! it will be so silly it will leave you positively nonplused from its egregiousness! :biggrin:
 
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Answers and Replies

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Whats an antonym?
 
tiny-tim
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Quite? :smile:
 
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Cleave can mean both to stick together, or to split apart:

cleave: to adhere firmly and closely or loyally and unwaveringly

cleave: to divide by or as if by a cutting blow

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cleave" [Broken]

Now can someone give me a synonym for cinnamon?
 
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Photon. :wink:
 
quadraphonics
It's not quite a self-antonym, but the following has always seemed odd to me:

Terror and horror are (almost) synonyms.
Likewise for terrible and horrible.
Yet, terrific and horrific have vastly different meanings.
 
Vanadium 50
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Oversight. Dust. Clip. Rent and lease in a way - they can refer to both sides of the transaction.
 
Mk
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If a lock is "unlockable," it is unable to be locked. If you reach a special point in a video game and find an "unlockable," it is able to be unlocked, which means it had to have been locked.
 
Chi Meson
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I think "cleave" is the winner in this category, since either meaning can be applied without any history of irony or sarcasm.

Here are two words that both mean "inspiring awe":

awesome
awful
 
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I like egregious. Definitions will even show the antonymic nature by listing its current definition and its "archaic" definition.

For some reason, "archaic: distigushied" is listed as the first definition...can't quite put my finger on why.
 
Words that should be antonyms but aren't are plentiful: inflammable and flammable is not as competent is to incompetent.

Priceless is a good one though. Lacking price and uncountably valuable in one.
 
Moonbear
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I think it's quite funny (or at least slightly amusing on an otherwise boring day).

- egregious (used to refer to something that was exceptionally good, and slowly [possibly through sarcasm: "O, that's just GREAT"] it came to mean the exact opposite)
Actually, it never meant exceptionally good, and doesn't mean exceptionally bad now. It just means exceptional, extraordinary or flagrant. It needs a noun to modify. An egregious error, for example.
 
Hurkyl
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Cromulent is the quintessential example. :wink:
 
Danger
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'Politics' originally had a positive connotation. :rolleyes:
 
siddharth
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google contronyms
 
Chi Meson
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Flammable and Inflammable : should be antonyms but actually are synonyms!
 
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Ivan Seeking
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Not a formal contronym but common usage: Many people from the midwest will say dethaw, when they mean, thaw - I need to dethaw the meat for dinner.

Monique and I once discussed this and realized that this comes from the midwest US where we have a large population of Germans. The "de" might be an evolution of the German "be", which would be logical.
 
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I also hate the word "irregardless". Whenever someone uses it, I can safely conclude that they are morons trying to act smart.
 
Garth
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From Fun with Words: Contronyms:
* anabasis - military advance, military retreat
* apology - admission of fault in what you think, say, or do; formal defense of what you think, say, or do
* aught - all, nothing
* bolt - secure, run away
* by - multiplication (e.g., a three by five matrix), division (e.g., dividing eight by four)
* chuffed - pleased, annoyed
* cleave - separate, adhere
* clip - fasten, detach
* consult - ask for advice, give advice
* copemate - partner, antagonist
* custom - usual, special
* deceptively smart - smarter than one appears, dumber than one appears
* dike - wall, ditch
* discursive - proceeding coherently from topic to topic, moving aimlessly from topic to topic
* dollop - a large amount, a small amount
* dust - add fine particles, remove fine particles
* enjoin - prescribe, prohibit
* fast - quick, unmoving
* first degree - most severe (e.g., murder), least severe (e.g., burn)
* fix - restore, castrate
* flog - criticize harshly, promote aggressively
* garnish - enhance (e.g., food), curtail (e.g., wages)
* give out - produce, stop production
* grade - incline, level
* handicap - advantage, disadvantage
* help - assist, prevent (e.g., "I can't help it if...")
* left - remaining, departed from
* liege - sovereign lord, loyal subject
* mean - average, excellent (e.g., "plays a mean game")
* off - off, on (e.g., "the alarm went off")
* out - visible (e.g., stars), invisible (e.g., lights)
* out of - outside, inside (e.g., "work out of one's home")
* oversight - error, care
* pitted - with the pit in, with the pit removed
* put out - extinguish, generate (e.g., something putting out light)
* quiddity - essence, trifling point
* quite - rather, completely
* ravel - tangle, disentangle
* rent - buy use of, sell use of
* rinky-dink - insignificant, one who frequents RinkWorks
* sanction - approve, boycott
* sanguine - hopeful, murderous (obsolete synonym for "sanguinary")
* screen - show, hide
* seed - add seeds (e.g., "to seed a field"), remove seeds (e.g., "to seed a tomato")
* skinned - with the skin on, with the skin removed
* strike - hit, miss (in baseball)
* table - propose (in the United Kingdom), set aside (in the United States)
* transparent - invisible, obvious
* unbending - rigid, relaxing
* variety - one type (e.g., "this variety"), many types (e.g., "a variety")
* wear - endure through use, decay through use
* weather - withstand, wear away
* wind up - end, start up (e.g., a watch)
* with - alongside, against

Some noteworthy antonyms aren't homographs (words that are spelled the same) but homophones (words that are pronounced the same). Some of these include:

* aural, oral - heard, spoken
* erupt, irrupt - burst out, burst in
* petalless, petalous - lacking petals, having petals
* raise, raze - erect, tear down

Homophones that are near-antonyms:

* reckless, wreckless
Garth
 
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Bisexual!! Jejeje Maybe it wotks too dont you think??
 
Sanguine means florid and full of blood as well as hopeful, it could mean angry but I don't think it means murderous any more to be frank. Obviously the medical term exsanguinate: to drain of blood puts it into perspective meaning wise.

But I found this explanation of it's odd meaning.

Word History: The similarity in form between sanguine, "cheerfully optimistic," and sanguinary, "bloodthirsty," may prompt one to wonder how they have come to have such different meanings. The explanation lies in medieval physiology with its notion of the four humors or bodily fluids (blood, bile, phlegm, and black bile). The relative proportions of these fluids was thought to determine a person's temperament. If blood was the predominant humor, one had a ruddy face and a disposition marked by courage, hope, and a readiness to fall in love. Such a temperament was called sanguine, the Middle English ancestor of our word sanguine. The source of the Middle English word was Old French sanguin, itself from Latin sanguineus. Both the Old French and Latin words meant "bloody," "blood-colored," Old French sanguin having the sense "sanguine in temperament" as well. Latin sanguineus was in turn derived from sanguis, "blood," just as English sanguinary is. The English adjective sanguine, first recorded in Middle English before 1350, continues to refer to the cheerfulness and optimism that accompanied a sanguine temperament but no longer has any direct reference to medieval physiology.
 
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