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Is there a word for a word whose form is contrary to its meaning?

For example, "quotidian" is anything but quotidian.

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I'd argue that my question is more specific than the first and different than the second, though it's true that heterological is offered as an answer in both. – Evan Cordell Oct 15 '12 at 10:22
up vote 7 down vote accepted

My apologies to Professor Lawler, but I'm fairly sure that the word you want is heterological.

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+1 You're right. Lawler's citation reads in relevant part: "a predicate is heterological if it is not true of itself, that is, if it does not itself have the property it expresses". [emphasis added] – MετάEd Oct 15 '12 at 2:34
No apologies necessary. I'm happy I recognized it as referring to Russell's Paradox. – John Lawler Oct 15 '12 at 6:21

Another term is Non-heterological. This has featured in many discussions of Russell's Paradox.

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Your source is good but it seems like "heterological" was the word I'm looking for. – Evan Cordell Oct 15 '12 at 4:34
Quite right. Those binary distinctions that lead to paradoxes do so for a reason. :-) – John Lawler Oct 15 '12 at 6:20

The term is ironic

using words that suggest the opposite of what you intend, usually in order to be humorous

The term also could be called oxymoronic

a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction (e.g. faith unfaithful kept him falsely true).

While oxymorons usually involve multiple words, the contradictory nature seems to fit.

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I guess irony would cover it if you were calling attention to the heterological nature of the word. ("German isn't German. Think about that.") However, I'm speaking more generally. And oxymoron, at least from your quoted definition, requires a "conjunction of terms", which I would think implies more than one. (Always, not just usually). – Evan Cordell Oct 15 '12 at 4:33

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