I love words – they’re fun, fascinating, and can make you feel super smart when you pick just the right one! The 17 words below are a special type of word called ‘contronyms‘ – words that are their own antonyms – and that makes them pretty sweet, if you ask me!
You can apply dust or remove dust, depending on the context – are you dusting crops or furniture?
It can mean “to withstand or come safely through,” as with a storm, or conversely, “to be worn away.”
We generally use it to mean to persist in doing something, though in the legal system, it means to stop a proceeding, if only temporarily.
It means both visible (the moon was out) and invisible (the lights are out).
It means both “to show” (a film) or “to hide” (something unsightly).
You can use it to “give official permission or approval for an action” or “impose a penalty on.”
“To cling to or adhere” or “to split or sever,” depending on how you use it.
Most often used as “assist” but can also be used to mean “prevent” – I couldn’t help myself.
“To proceed,” of course, but it can also mean “to give out or fail.”
#8. Toss out
“To suggest” and also “to discard.”
“Supervise” or “to fail to see or observe; to pass over without noticing; to disregard, ignore” – true opposites!
It can mean both “moving rapidly” and “fixed, unmoving,” as in holding fast.
You can use a clip to “bind things together” or you can “separate” coupons from the paper by clipping them.
#4. Hold up
This phrase can mean “to support” or “to hinder.”
#3. Out of
“I hardly get out of the house anymore since I work out of my home” You’re referring to both “outside” and “inside” with the same phrase.
What’s left or we have left? One means “remaining” and the other “departed.”
You can turn something off (deactivated) or an alarm can go off (activated) without changing a thing!
Go forth and sound smarter, people!