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 fasten
2. to detach
She clipped the pin onto her dress—
The pin that he had bought.
He was considerate, her guy—
At least that’s what she thought
Until she saw there on the back
Of that most gorgeous pin:
“Enjoy the free reward you’ve earned
For buying so much gin!”
Delilah was a tricky one.
Although she seemed to favor fun,
She had a task that must be done.
She lured young Samson to her bed,
And when his appetites were fed,
She clipped his locks right from his head.
Which all suggests that if you care
About your strength (so very rare),
Keep closer watch upon your hair.