Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sound and Sense, 78

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. gamble (verb): to play a game in which you can win or lose; to risk losing  (noun): something that could produce a desired result or a bad or unpleasant result
2. gambol (verb): to run or jump in a lively way  (noun) a skipping or leaping about in play

It was a gamble, this he knew,
To teach The Taming of the Shrew.

The students could not gambol through
That Shakespeare text. But he would do

The best he could. He gambled, yes,
But doggerel cannot express

How pleased he was with the result—
And one could say he did exult!

The students loved the fighting scenes—
Though wondering what Shakespeare means

By his odd words—so out of date.
But still—he tried to explicate

The puzzling, the confusing parts
And hoped the Bard had touched their hearts.

It was no gambol, reading Shrew,
But he was glad: The kids came through.

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