Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Sound and Sense, 81

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. gnatty (adj.): bothered by or covered with gnats
2. natty (adj.): trim, neat, and tidy; dapper

When Natty Bumppo (Cooper’s dude—
The Last of the Mohicans guy)
Was sometimes gnatty (never crude),
There was no substance he could buy

To bring relief. The time would come
For that. And so he suffered—hard.
But he would never get too glum—
He was so strong in that regard.

He was no natty dresser, no.
He had no interest in high style.
He went where he just loved to go;
While slaying deer, he wore a smile.

He also wore one finding paths—
And working with the pioneers.
This prairie guy (who needed baths)
Still lived for many, many years!

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