Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Words that are their own antonym

  1. Apr 26, 2008 #1
    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:
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 26, 2008 #2
    Whats an antonym?
     
  4. Apr 26, 2008 #3
    it's the antonym of the word synonym.
     
  5. Apr 26, 2008 #4

    tiny-tim

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Quite? :smile:
     
  6. Apr 26, 2008 #5
    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

    Merrian-Webster: cleave

    Now can someone give me a synonym for cinnamon?
     
  7. Apr 26, 2008 #6
  8. Apr 26, 2008 #7
    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.
     
  9. Apr 26, 2008 #8

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2015 Award

    Oversight. Dust. Clip. Rent and lease in a way - they can refer to both sides of the transaction.
     
  10. Apr 26, 2008 #9

    Mk

    User Avatar

    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.
     
  11. Apr 26, 2008 #10

    Chi Meson

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    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
     
  12. Apr 26, 2008 #11
    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.
     
  13. Apr 26, 2008 #12
    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.
     
  14. Apr 26, 2008 #13

    Moonbear

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    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.
     
  15. Apr 26, 2008 #14

    Hurkyl

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Cromulent is the quintessential example. :wink:
     
  16. Apr 26, 2008 #15

    Danger

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    'Politics' originally had a positive connotation. :rolleyes:
     
  17. Apr 26, 2008 #16

    siddharth

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    google contronyms
     
  18. Apr 26, 2008 #17

    Chi Meson

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Cool! It has a name!
     
  19. Apr 26, 2008 #18
    Flammable and Inflammable : should be antonyms but actually are synonyms!
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2008
  20. Apr 26, 2008 #19

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    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.
     
  21. Apr 26, 2008 #20
    I also hate the word "irregardless". Whenever someone uses it, I can safely conclude that they are morons trying to act smart.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: Words that are their own antonym
  1. Is there a word? (Replies: 10)

  2. It's for their own good (Replies: 13)

  3. Newman's Own (Replies: 6)

Loading...