The Worldwide Weblog of Donald Pincher

by Joshua Gaskell

Tag: Contronym

Tuesday, 21st February 2017

On fleeker, adj.

Pronunciation: /ɒn fliːkə/
Etymology: < fleek adj., apparently an arbitrary formation

1. More ‘on fleek’: better, more attractive, or more stylish (than someone else).
2. Usu. in form On Flickr, contronymous to sense 1: worse, less attractive, or less stylish (than anyone else).

Thursday, 20th October 2016

Big whoop, int. and n.

Pronunciation: /ˌbɪɡ ˈwʊp/
Etymology: < big adj. + whoop n.

1. int. Expressing dismissiveness: ‘So what?’ ‘Who cares?’
2. n. A big utterance of ‘whoo(p)’, contronymous to sense 1, expressing approval in place of applause: ‘Oh my God! I agree!’

Monday, 6th July 2015

May, v.

Pronunciation: /meɪ/
Etymology: < a Germanic verb with the sense ‘to be strong or able, to have power’.

1. Expressing possibility.
2. In phrase we apologise for the inconvenience this may cause you, contronymous to sense 1, expressing certainty.

Saturday, 30th May 2015

Option, n.

Pronunciation: /ˈɒpʃn/
Etymology: < classical Latin optiō action of choosing, choice, power of choosing.

1. Something that may be chosen from a range of things; an alternative, a choice.
2. In phrase vegetarian option, contronymous to sense 1, something that may not be chosen, because it is the only one of its kind; no alternative, no choice.

Any customer can have any meal that he wants so long as it is black bean.

Wednesday, 8th April 2015

Tax, n.

Pronunciation: /taks/
Etymology: < Old French taxer < Latin taxare to censure, charge, compute.

1. Doms. A compulsory contribution to the support of government.
2. Non-doms. Contronymous to sense 1: A discretionary contribution to the support of government.

When I was young there was a tax-avoiding thing called a nondom, pronounced nond’m; now, the evidently same thing is a non-dom, with a fully rounded second syllable…

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