Our English dictionary has in it many words whose sounds and meanings can … confuse. In this next series of doggerel, I’ll be writing about several sorts of such words.
The first—the contronym: a word, says the Oxford English Dictionary, that has “two opposite or contradictory meanings.”
Earliest published use: 1962.
2. ended or destroyed
“At last! I’m finished!” he cried out.
“And there cannot be any doubt
That fame will follow—oh, my book
Is really gonna steam and cook!”
But all the critics said, “It sucks!”
Now knowing he would get no bucks,
He cried again, “I’m finished, Yo!
Oh, how a writer suffers so!”