A tale of two meanings-CONTRONYMS

Has this ever happened to you?

You use a word with one meaning but soon you have a conversation or read something with another meaning of the same word? In writing, this word has the same spelling and in speaking the word has the same pronunciation.

Confused? 

You have come across a CONTRONYM. 

A Contronym in English is a word (noun or verb) which has the same spelling and pronunciation but opposite meanings. In other words, they are a combination of homonyms and antonyms.

Take a look at these examples:

Dust:

  1. I need to dust the wardrobe this weekend. [Meaning in context – remove]
  2. Dust the cake with some sugar! [ Meaning in context – put on] 

Execute:

  1. Raj needs to execute the plan. [Meaning in context – start or begin]
  2. The plan is to execute the murderer. [Meaning in context – to bring to an end]

What’s your favourite Contronym?

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