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. gnu (noun): wildebeest
2. knew (verb): past tense of know; to have information of some kind in your mind
3. new (adj.): not old; recently born, but, or created
4. nu (noun): the 13th letter of the Greek alphabet
The gnu knew nu—he'd studied Greek,
To him a language very new.
But knowledge—ever!—he would seek.
It’s what, he felt, he ought to do.
And so a gnu professorship
At Harvard soon was put in place.
His classes were not wise to skip:
A wildebeest can hurt your face!
He had a very long career—
His honors many (not a few).
But then the words we hate to hear:
“It’s time we hired a new Prof. Gnu.”