0

There are so many words that have 2 opposite meaning and there is one word that I can think of is " Priceless "

As its " Part of speech" of priceless is ADJ and if you look it up the meaning on dictionary, you will find as follows.

1.) used to describe something with such a high value that its price cannot be calculated, especially because it is rare

2.) extremely funny to see or hear, delightfully amusing, odd, or absurd

First meaning express something in positive way whereas, the second express something quite negative, my questions is how do we know what it really means?

E.G.

  • If someone says "Your car is priceless"

What are they trying to express? In case of, we don't really hear their voice or any their expression.

4
  • My understanding is that the car, probably a vintage car, is a most valuable piece that it is difficult to estimate a price. – user 66974 Apr 22 '20 at 9:26
  • Thanks, but what if they tried to express in negative way, how to identify when there are 2 meaning. If the given example sentences belongs to the first meaning, then when do we use " priceless" as the second meaning. – Pichayut Apr 22 '20 at 9:35
  • Price and priceless are part of the Commercial Transaction Frame, which also includes value, valueless, worth, worthless, cost, and free. Their meanings are complex, but describable. – John Lawler Apr 22 '20 at 15:05
  • Both examples have one meaning: extremely high value. But calling absurdity priceless is simply sarcasm: the meaning of the word remains while the underlying message reverses due to tone of voice. "Traffic. Great!" means that I am happy (of course not) to see heavy traffic. Traffic did not become a good thing at all. – Yosef Baskin Apr 23 '20 at 22:35
1

As its " Part of speech" of priceless is ADJ and if you look it up the meaning on dictionary, you will find as follows.

1.) used to describe something with such a high value that its price cannot be calculated, especially because it is rare

2.) extremely funny to see or hear, delightfully amusing, odd, or absurd

If you think about those two meanings, they are, in fact, aspects of the same meaning:

"This painting by Leonardo Da Vinci is priceless." Priceless = of such a high value that it is impossible to put a price upon it (the value of the painting).

"He fell into the mud! You should have seen it! It was priceless." Priceless = of such a high value that it is impossible to put a price upon it (the value of the humour-).

5
  • Thank you, your comment give me a bigger-picture. So the value of ( Whatever ) will depend on the contexts right? – Pichayut Apr 22 '20 at 10:12
  • 1
    Well, if "priceless" = something that cannot be given a price, Then the meaning is the same in both. It thus only depends upon what you are talking about. However, the most important message is, in English, the importance of context cannot be overstated, meaning cannot be separated from context, and you cannot say "In case of, we don't really hear their voice or any their expression." because, if there is no context, then thousands of words in English are "meaningless" or ambiguous. Consider I don't like rock." The noun "rock" has several different meanings. – Greybeard Apr 22 '20 at 10:22
  • Yes, generally it means, it is so precious that a value cannot be assigned to it. But people who use it ambiguously (using pun), may be read in that way. – Ram Pillai Apr 22 '20 at 10:38
  • @RamPillai it is not a pun, because the word has only one meaning (beyond price). It can be used metaphorically to describe a humorous situation. – Kate Bunting Apr 22 '20 at 11:40
  • My late aunt used to refer to unnecessary idiocy that way: "You said what? That's priceless!" – Conrado Apr 22 '20 at 12:28

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.