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.
1. to repair
2. to castrate
I fixed the broken swinging door.
The owner’s dog then bit me—for
A reason I can’t comprehend.
And while I lay there, on the mend,
In my own house, I thought about
Revenge. And in my dreams his snout—
His flashing, dripping, bloody fangs—
Created many anguished pangs.
But all my secret plans were nixed:
The neighbor took and got him fixed.
And now he lies there in the sun—
With only memories for fun.