Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Sound and Sense, 32

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.

trip noun
1. a journey
2. a stumble

The trip he planned to Timbuktu
Did not work out—yes, it is true.
He fell—a trip!—out near his car,
And so his trip was not that far:
Just from his upright posture—then
Down to the ground. And that was when
His journey changed to near from far—
From Timbuktu to that ER,
Which was a single mile away.
So … Timbuktu? Another day.

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