enter Democracy vs. People making bad choices. Democracy is not perfect and not good for every society.
Lately, I feel like a spiritual, meditation teacher chock-full of contradictions. I have had to let go of so much after having this life-threatening. No, “bridegroom” is not a contronym, though it includes two contradictory words but not opposite meanings. It is a synonym for “groom.
The problem is what system works better? Free health care vs.
We can't afford to pay for it. Do we go broke trying to be nice guys?
Risking lives in wartime vs. Letting the world go to pot. There are some bad people in the world. If we ignore them, they will kill us. Prius battery vs. Long term energy evolution. They say the Prius battery is gigantically toxic. But it helps us figure out how to advance technology, right? Enjoy every day vs. Live careful, healthy lives. This one is a draw.
Medicines to help us vs. Side effects like fatigue, indigestion, liver problems. I say take your medicine for big health problems. If it saves your life, but gives you gas, oh well. Speak your mind vs.
Let others be. Let's have free speech, but not be insulting. Help other people survive vs. Make it too tempting to live off the dole. Don't make it too easy. Ignore the punctuation. Lots of fun; Try to see how long an expression you can put together. Retronyms are old words, which need an additional amplifier to bring them up-to-date, due to social, political or technological changes.
Examples are acoustic guitar, analogue clock, fresh air and unsafe sex. Figure it out yourself. In addition, there are language categories which bring a smile to the face or a loud guffaw --Spoonerisms, Wellerisms, Malapropisms, Tom Swifty's and Paraprosdokia. Spoonerisms are tongue-twisters such as "tips of the slongue. Example: Going way back to Gracie Allen, "You could have knocked me over with a fender! Get it? Paraprosdokia means starting a sentence with one thought and then abruptly shifting to a totally different and usually contrary one. Quoting Groucho Marx, "I've had a wonderful evening, but this wasn't it.
Add twisted, double-meaning newspaper headline bloopers New Bridge Held Up by Red Tape and words spelled the same but pronounced differently An immigrant coming into a bookstore, asking for a book to "Polish my English. Add to these words which combine letter and number sounds to cut down on verbiage.
But, let's get back to contronyms. I have nearly of them in my knapsack. Let's provide the reader with a few prime ones:.
Bolt To hold together as in mechanical bolting or to separate by fleeing. Clip To connect as with a paper clip or to detach as in clipping your hedge. Fix To repair as in putting together or to castrate as in cutting apart. Garnish To add to as with food preparation or to take away as with wages. Handicap An advantage to insure equality, as in golf or a disadvantage that prevents or minimizes equal achievement.
Hold up To support as in Liberty holding up the torch or to impede as in holding up legislation. Out Visible as with the moon or invisible as with an electric light. Skin To remove as in skinning an animal for its fur. Trim To decorate as with a Christmas tree or to remove excess as with a mustache. Wind up To start as with a clock or to end as with a business. How do these contradictory meanings come about? We don't always know, but they do originate in different ways. For example, cleave to adhere or to separate come from Old English roots, the first from clifian and the second from cleofan.
Oversight probably resulted from confusion of the verbs overlook and oversee when people started the use them in nouns. Other contronyms such as seed and dust probably had similar origins when verbs were appended to describe how they were to be moved. Dusting involves either adding dust or removing dust.
Seeds are scattered during planting, but removed from the resulting fruit. A number of others arise from different usage in the United States and England. For example, to table a bill in the English Parliament is to put it on the table for consideration. In Congress, it means to set it aside.
When an American Judge enjoins someone, he forbids him or her from carrying out a certain action. When a British Judge enjoins, he is directing the party to act. If a West End play in London is a bomb, it is a huge success. In America, a bomb is a failure.
There are undoubtedly other reasons for the rise of these words, but origin of these contradictions is often obscure. I hope the reader has enjoyed this awesome blog on Contronyms, even though, in Old English, it would have been considered "awful.
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