I’ve just learned a cool term, “contranym.”  It’s a term for a word that has two meanings that are opposite to one another. 

                Examples are such words as:

Overlooks:  The hotel overlooks the bay.  Opposite meaning: He always overlooks something in packing for his trip.

                Cleave:  To break in two or to bond together.

                Bound: which means both “moving” and “tied up.”  She is bound for San Francisco.   She is bound and gagged.

                Citation: and award or a penalty for behavior.

                Apparently, other languages, such as Hebrew, have contranyms.  Can you think of others in the English language?

About Sally Hobart Alexander

Blinded at the age of twenty-six, I left California and elementary school teaching for life in Pittsburgh, Pa. There, I met my husband, got a Masters' degree in social work, had two kids, now 35 and 32, and became a writer. Surprisingly, the writing career led me full-circle to teaching, and I teach in Chatham University's M.F.A. program and lead two writing critique groups. Always, since the age of 26, I have traveled, not in the stereotypic darkness attributed to blindness, but a mist. My blog then, "traveling through the mist" will deal with issues in my culturally different life as a blind writer, teacher, speaker, and human being.
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