Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Sound and Sense, 4

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.

bound adj.
1. heading to a destination
2. restrained from movement

We heard that he was Yukon bound:
He hoped for riches in the ground.
Alas, there were none to be found.
Now all he does is hang around
And mutter things not too profound.


They bound and gagged him—reason why?
He was a most obnoxious guy.

He always bragged about his looks—
And claimed he’d “never read no books.”

No women liked him—nor no men—
And this, of course, is not a sin.

But he became unbearable—
So truly awful, terrible.

We gagged him—he was firmly bound.
He’s on a boat, now Yukon bound.

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