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. a particular type
2. many types
Variety, she thought, would be
The way to help her find a man,
But his was a variety
That made her choose another plan.
When she discovered he was fond
Of nothing else but cheese fondue,
Well, that’s the trait that broke the bond,
And so she bid that dude adieu.