Tagged Questions

Questions relating to words which are sometimes their own antonyms.

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0
votes
2answers
438 views

can nymous be used as an antonym of anonymous [closed]

What should I use as an antonym of anonymous ? is nymous a correct antonym of anonymous ?
1
vote
1answer
291 views

Words develop their opposite

I remember once hearing a theory--first promoted, I believe, by Freud--that words develop to mean their opposite, and that eventually the new, antithetical definition takes primacy. Cleave is a ...
3
votes
1answer
760 views

Etymology of “Utopia”; counterintuitive

How did the word "Utopia" (coined by Sir Thomas More) come to mean an ideal place when the Greek etymology specifically means "Not a place." Relatedly, while this might be the prime use of the word ...
22
votes
5answers
3k views

How did 'sanction' come to have two opposite meanings?

Sanction is an unusual ambiguous word to me. In some cases it means to approve some action, while in other cases it means to prohibit or punish some action; and there being near opposite meanings, ...
2
votes
3answers
387 views

Why can “bill” mean (almost) opposite things?

Bill is somewhat of an auto-antonym, since it can mean either a piece of paper which has positive monetary value (i.e. a note), or a piece of paper which has negative monetary value (though it only ...
9
votes
5answers
815 views

How did “strike” get its baseball meaning?

Strike as an English word (meaning to hit) is certainly older than strike as a baseball term (meaning not to hit), so what puzzles me is that the word adopted for the action is the exact opposite of ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Why the opposite meanings of the word “bollocks”?

The phrases the dog’s bollocks, the bee’s bollocks, and golden bollocks are used to mean something or someone excellent, fine, or well thought of. But if one were to say a load of bollocks, or ...