Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Sound and Sense, 74

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. fore (adj.): toward the front part of a boat, ship, or airplane (interjection): the warning cry of a golfer
2. four (noun and adj.): the number between 3 and 5 (as if you didn’t know)

The alien who landed on
The 14th (such a lovely green)
Had little time to dwell upon
What all these English words can mean.

He had four heads—a dozen eyes.
And countless slimy legs (what for?),
But he received a grand surprise
That shook him to his very core.

He heard a sound (a guy called “Fore!”),
The alien, surprised, just froze.
He did not know much human lore,
He knew not what a golfer knows,

For he, you know, was alien
From far away in outer space;
He’d come to earth to have some fun—
He'd heard it was a happenin’ place.

And then he learned the meaning of
That cry of “Fore!” that he had heard.
A ball then bonked him from above,
And then he heard a little bird

That cheeped and chirped inside his head,
So he fired up his UFO—
And dripped some goo (oh, yes, he bled)—
And flew as fast as he could go.

And when he landed back at home,
His friends were asking (with much mirth):
“How was their Paris? And their Rome?”
He said, “Don’t ever go to Earth!”

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