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!

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#17. Dust

You can apply dust or remove dust, depending on the context – are you dusting crops or furniture?

#16. Weather

It can mean “to withstand or come safely through,” as with a storm, or conversely, “to be worn away.”

#15. Continue

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.

#14. Out

It means both visible (the moon was out) and invisible (the lights are out).

#13. Screen

It means both “to show” (a film) or “to hide” (something unsightly).

#12. Sanction

You can use it to “give official permission or approval for an action” or “impose a penalty on.”

#11. Cleave

“To cling to or adhere” or “to split or sever,” depending on how you use it.

#10. Help

Most often used as “assist” but can also be used to mean “prevent” – I couldn’t help myself.

#9. Go

“To proceed,” of course, but it can also mean “to give out or fail.”

#8. Toss out

“To suggest” and also “to discard.”

#7. Oversight

“Supervise” or “to fail to see or observe; to pass over without noticing; to disregard, ignore” – true opposites!

#6. Fast

It can mean both “moving rapidly” and “fixed, unmoving,” as in holding fast.

#5. Clip

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.

#2. Left

What’s left or we have left? One means “remaining” and the other “departed.”

#1. Off

You can turn something off (deactivated) or an alarm can go off (activated) without changing a thing!

Go forth and sound smarter, people!