I could be completely wrong, but I feel like there is a word for it.

To explain my meaning, let's use the word "Circular". This means "Round" or sometimes "Spherical". Writing it one way, to put a visual appearance of the word might be: (I just used an online font, so ignore the extra "bits")

Cursive Font

However, if I wrote it a different way:

Angular Font

The appearance of the word (blocky and square-ish) contradicts the meaning of the word.

Is there a word for this (other than just "Contradictory")?

  • Heterological is close, but normally refers to how a word's definition rather than appearance doesn't describe itself.
    – Lawrence
    Apr 7, 2016 at 3:26

1 Answer 1


You could call it paradoxical. If you wanted a fancy $10 word, maybe anti-ideasthetic.

(Also check out the Stroop Effect.)

  • I'm not sure if it's a $10 000 word or a bust. Since I haven't found it anywhere else, I'd say it's not a word. Aug 18, 2016 at 10:46
  • @EdwinAshworth, you can find ideasthesia in Wikipedia where you can find further references. Anti is a standard prefix.
    – dangph
    Aug 18, 2016 at 11:11
  • 'Standard', whatever you mean by it, doesn't mean 'totally productive' and certainly not 'will always give an idiomatic new word'. Aug 18, 2016 at 11:25
  • @EdwinAshworth, where do you think new words come from? People make them up, especially in technical contexts. They catch on or they don't. At one time there was no such word as antimatter. One day, someone thought, "Gee, we need a new word to call this new type of matter that we have discovered. Let's take the standard prefix anti-, and stick it on the front of matter." Would you have objected to that?
    – dangph
    Aug 18, 2016 at 11:37
  • We've had the debate here several times on what constitutes 'wordness' (and that word can be found in at least some dictionaries). Inclusion in OED is usually taken as being sufficient proof. 'People make [new words] up, especially in technical contexts. They catch on or they don't. ... If you wanted a fancy $10 word, maybe anti-ideasthetic.' isn't. Aug 18, 2016 at 14:02

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