Thursday, July 1, 2010

Top 5 Self-Opposing Words

Any good web log entry first states what it's not about. I'll conform. This entry is not about auto-antonyms (also called "contronyms" and "antagonyms"). That's when a word has two opposing meanings, like "adumbrate," which means both to disclose and to obscure, and "sanction," which means both to permit and to restrict. No, those kinds of words don't interest me, at least not enough to write about, unless I need to use them as examples of what I don't want to write about.


Here's what I want to write about--words that imply the opposite meaning from their appearance. With only a little more ado, I shall now proceed with the list:

1. tranquill

I'll also accept "trainquil" for this entry. Reading either word makes you a little tense, admit it.

2. disentanglement

Interesting fact: the Cambridge Language Police Society attempted to abolish this word in 1937, but the swing voter refused to say Aye unless everyone agreed to abolish "marmot" as well. Gridlock ensued.

3. relaxxx

I just made up this word. Does it relax you? No. It makes you think of illicit imagery.

4. mispelled

I can't decide whether this word is really self-opposing. Perhaps it belongs in my Top 5 Self-Actualization Words entry, which I'm nearly certain to write in the near future.

5. spendthrift

Here we go. The most deceptive word in the English language.