In the previous issue I cited the words "cleave" and "let" as self-contradictory words, capable of being applied with opposite meanings. Joseph T. Shipley has obviously explored this curious feature in much greater depth than I have and presents a formidable list of what he calls "autantonyms" in his delightful book Playing With Words, Cornerstone Library, 1966:
fast: a fast horse runs; a fast color doesn't.
dust: remove same from a suit; add same to a field of crops.
trim: embellish a Christmas tree; disembellish a fat cut of meat.
trip: move nimbly; stumble.
mortal: death-dealing; death-prone.
weather: wear well; wear out.
overlook: inspect; neglect.
cavalier: gallant and gentlemanly; haughty and ungentlemanly.
Shipley has other examples, among which I particularly like "to think better of." Applied to your neighbor it means to admire him more; applied to the plan he proposed it means to like it less.
Edited by DAVID L. SILVERMAN
1006 Cove Way
Beverly Hills, California 90210
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Author:||Silverman, David L.|
|Article Type:||Brief article|
|Date:||Nov 1, 2012|
|Previous Article:||Unacknowledged equals.|
|Next Article:||A college of interesting cardinals.|