Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Sound and Sense, 52

We’re moving next to the homophone: a word pronounced the same as another but differing in meaning, whether spelled the same way or not, as heir and air. So … contronyms are words that have contradictory meanings (sanctiion = approve and disapprove; homophones sound alike but to not mean the same—and often are not spelled the same, either.

1. creak (verb): to make a long, high sound (noun): a rasping or grating noise
2. creek (noun): a natural stream of water normally smaller than and often tributary to a river
3. creek (proper noun): an American Indian confederation of peoples (in the South)

He heard a certain kind of creak
Up in the attic. But to seek
The source just made him sore afraid,
And so downstairs our coward stayed.

He looked outside; he saw the creek
That wandered by. But would a peek
Upstairs be worrisome? He’d look,
Find something freaky, write a book

About it all!? A floorboard creaked
Up there. Our coward purely freaked
When he heard that and ran outside.
He saw a vision—nearly died.

A Creek stood there in full array,
Said, “I am stopping by today—”
But then the shriek near split his ears—
What was it with these young in years?

They cry aloud with slightest cause.
He waited for the cries to pause.
“That Creek up in your attic, Dude?
I have no wish to be too rude,

But he has run away from us
And must return (no special fuss).”
And then the coward—frightened stiff—
Knew that he’d better learn the diff

’Twixt creek and creak

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