Linked Questions

2
votes
1answer
3k views

Words that mean the exact opposite to themselves [duplicate]

As I'm sure everyone is now aware, the OED has now acknowledged that "literally" can be used to mean both "figuratively" AND "actually" -- two words with the opposite definition. It got me wondering: ...
0
votes
2answers
217 views

Words having two converse meanings [duplicate]

Many words have several meanings and some even have two converse meanings. Two examples of such words are amateur and literally as illustrated by the following: She is an art amateur. This is amateur ...
49
votes
20answers
20k views

What's the opposite of “concatenate” in programming?

To concatenate means to string together different things. Concatenating "snow" and "ball" produces "snowball." But what would the opposite action be? What is the name of the action used to derive two ...
9
votes
11answers
920 views

Is there a better word than “colorizable”?

In part of the software my company develops, the user is presented with a list of black-and-white images. The user can select one of these images and then can select a color for it, changing it from ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

Two Opposite Meanings of 'Cleave'?

I'm interested in how and why the verb cleave has two totally opposite definitions: Definition I. Split or sever (something) Definiiton II. Adhere strongly to The referenced website shows ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

what does drew imply in the following

Consider the following: She drew the curtains. What does drew mean here? Does it mean that she closed or opened the curtains? According to American English Thesaurus, draw could imply both open ...
3
votes
3answers
618 views

How does the word “enjoin” come to have two opposite meanings?

By the Cambridge Dictionary To ​legally ​forbid or ​stop something by ​order of a ​court Enjoin also ​means to ​order or ​strongly ​encourage someone to do something By the Oxford ...
2
votes
1answer
853 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 mid-...
1
vote
0answers
328 views

Words that have come to mean the opposite of what they meant when they were conceived? [closed]

I was wondering if anyone could think of a few examples, such as 'awful' which earlier meant 'awe-inspiring' but is now, generally, understood to describe things like drain smells, twerking and my ...
0
votes
0answers
48 views

When did egregious become something bad? (archaic was something good) [duplicate]

The archaic meaning of egregious is something good. Now it means the opposite. When did this occur and is there any reasoning on why this occurred?