Thursday, August 11, 2016

Sound and Sense, 68

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. faint (verb): to lose consciousness (noun): the loss of consciousness  (adj.): not clearly sensed
2. feint (verb): to pretend to make a move to fool an opponent (noun): a quick move that you make to trick an opponent

He felt that he was feeling faint
A looked to find a place to sit.
But this museum (which was so quaint)
Lacked any chairs that looked too fit.

A docent then approached him, said
“Oh, sir, you don’t look very well!”
Then feinted—punch upside the head—
And laughed and said, “Oh, I can tell

You used to box. Let’s go a few?”
I barely heard his words (faint speech)—
And wasn’t sure I wanted to—
But his fat nose was in my reach,

And so I decked him. On the floor!
“He fainted!” I told those who came
To see what they could not ignore.
“Oh, all in fun—a kind of game.”

But something made them disbelieve—
It was a Red-Sea sort of flood
That made so many of them grieve,
A sea comprising that dude’s blood.

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