Whirr2009-04-24
This is Literally the coolest thing I've written about all day!

One of my favorite 'blogs, Futility Closet, recently ran a short bit about auto-antonyms--words that have a double meaning, where the second meaning is the opposite of the first.

I'm still convinced that they must have a cooler name than that, but I love the concept. I had previously been familiar with "cleave", which means both "to adhere firmly" (husbands and wives, to use a shockingly heteronormative example) and "to split in two" (e.g., with an axe). The word "literally" is rapidly becoming auto-antonymous as well--it still retains it's original meaning, "in a literal sense or manner", but has also acquired the meaning "figuratively".

At any rate, Futility Closet adds the following words to my list:

  • AUGHT ("anything" and "nothing")
  • BULL ("edict" and "nonsense")
  • ENJOIN ("prescribe" and "prohibit")
  • KICK OFF ("begin" and "die")
  • NERVY ("brash" and "timid")
  • RAVEL ("tangle" and "disentangle")
  • TEMPER ("harden" and "soften")
  • UNBENDING ("rigid" and "relaxing")
  • WEATHER ("withstand" and "wear away")

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