Saturday, August 13, 2016

Sound and Sense, 70

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. feat (noun): accomplishment
2. feet (noun): plural of foot

“Now, Mr. Shakespeare—quite a feat
To write a line with just five feet

Poetic feet, of course.” The Bard
Just smiled. For him, it wasn’t hard

To write pentameter. It flowed
From him like water. Then it glowed.

But hearing praise, he took his seat
And stared (so modest!) at his feet,

Was lost in thought (I can explain)
About a play—a moody Dane.

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