Remember vocabulary tests?

im certain everyone remembers vocabulary tests in school…or learning vocabulary words for that matter…and when all those words seemed to have no point…ive actually got a completely random question for all you cdfreakers out there thatll bring back fond memories of your years in elementary school onward…

ok…somewhere in the english language…somewhere in the dictionary where i cant find it…there is a word with a definition that goes something like this:

a term for a word that also means its opposite. (an example i can provide you with might be a word like cleave…which means to split and to stick together).

im not sure what the word is…or if they have such words like this in other languages. anyone want to help me out in looking? ive got the english graduate department here at my university stumpped…and the english dept. here is one of the best in the u.s.!

what weve come up with so far are the following words: contranym, anti-antonym, and antiphrasis…but none of these really capture the definitionn ive given above.

anyway, im open to suggestions…and im open to words from other languages too.

Sheesh, this is going to be hard. I didnt even have vocab tests in my grade school, we just had spelling tests. What university do you attend that is so stumped. If they dont know it, I very much doubt that the mostly international community will get it.

However, some enterprising poster might find it on the almighty Google :slight_smile:

Upon googling a few sites, it has become apparent that the word contranym best describes what you are trying to say. SOme examples are:

bolt - to make secure and to leave precipitously
buckle - tomake solid and to become weak
certain - definite and vague
cleave - to separate and to join
clip - to fasten together and to cut apart
commencement - to start and to finish
critical - to be against and to be essential to
dispense - to provide and to get rid of
dust - to spread over and to remove from
handicap - an advantage and a disadvantage
impregnable - unpenetrateable and able to be penetrated
inflammable - combustibleand not combustible
let - to allow and to hinder
limit - to include and to exclude
moot - debatable and not worth debating
out - unseeable and seeable.
overlook - to ignore and to look over
oversight - to look after and to not see
qualified - competent and limited
sanction - to approve and to punish
scan - to examine thoroughly or cursorily
screen - to show and to hide
secrete - to hide and to come out of
stem - to originate from, and to stop
strike - to hit into place, and to remove from place
temper - to soften and to harden
trim - to add onto and to cut from
trip - to stumble and to move with agility
unbending - to be rigid and to become loose
wear - to last and to disintegrate
weather - to endure and to wear away

At another extreme are oxymorons but i doubt you are looking for that.

dont know if you noticed flyingdutchman, but if youre really from nyc…i noticed that was also your 911 post…as in 9/11. just weird seeing where you were from and then looking down at your number of posts.

anyway…wow…lots of words that seem to mean their opposites. you know, i was just thinking…with a little bit of sarcasm…cant any word mean its opposite?

I didnt even have vocab tests in my grade school
:eek: :eek:

i just remember reading about this word in one of those ‘‘ask marilyn’’ columns…you know…the lady with the highest iq or something…and i wish i had kept the column. :a

Originally posted by EFloUVA
[B]

anyway…wow…lots of words that seem to mean their opposites. you know, i was just thinking…with a little bit of sarcasm…cant any word mean its opposite?
:eek: :eek:

[/B]

I dont think any word can mean their opposite. It is a weird idea though, what could be the opposite meaning in “sit” or “ball” ? Those words have other meanings much like other words in the English language but they are not opposites.

And yes i am from ny- brooklyn to be exact. The post count, well, I dont think there is a need to go into that. I could start busting out metaphors about it but its 2 AM and i have to wake up in 3 hours…

With: Alongside, Against.

(England fought the 100 years war with France, England fought in WWI with France).

Interesting question, EFFLUVIA. :bigsmile:

Yes, it’s contranyms that have contradictory meanings. Contranyms are further broken down into homographs (same spelling) and homophones (sound the same with different spelling).

Sample homograph contranyms:

custom = usual, special
fast = rapid, unmoving
oversight = care, error
peer = noble, person of equal rank
put = lay, throw

Sample homophone contranyms:

aural, oral = heard, spoken
fiance, fiancee = female betrothed, male betrothed
raise, raze = erect, tear down

EFloUVA, please excuse the malapropism on your name. I couldn’t resist. Except a malapropism is supposed to be unintentional. :cool: I hope it’s more appropriate in a thread on vocabulary. :bigsmile:

Originally posted by FlyingDutchman
[B]Sheesh, this is going to be hard. I didnt even have vocab tests in my grade school, we just had spelling tests. What university do you attend that is so stumped. If they dont know it, I very much doubt that the mostly international community will get it.

However, some enterprising poster might find it on the almighty Google :slight_smile:

Upon googling a few sites, it has become apparent that the word contranym best describes what you are trying to say. SOme examples are:

bolt - to make secure and to leave precipitously
buckle - tomake solid and to become weak
certain - definite and vague
cleave - to separate and to join
clip - to fasten together and to cut apart
commencement - to start and to finish
critical - to be against and to be essential to
dispense - to provide and to get rid of
dust - to spread over and to remove from
handicap - an advantage and a disadvantage
impregnable - unpenetrateable and able to be penetrated
inflammable - combustibleand not combustible
let - to allow and to hinder
limit - to include and to exclude
moot - debatable and not worth debating
out - unseeable and seeable.
overlook - to ignore and to look over
oversight - to look after and to not see
qualified - competent and limited
sanction - to approve and to punish
scan - to examine thoroughly or cursorily
screen - to show and to hide
secrete - to hide and to come out of
stem - to originate from, and to stop
strike - to hit into place, and to remove from place
temper - to soften and to harden
trim - to add onto and to cut from
trip - to stumble and to move with agility
unbending - to be rigid and to become loose
wear - to last and to disintegrate
weather - to endure and to wear away

At another extreme are oxymorons but i doubt you are looking for that. [/B]

/me thinks that FD is very, very ill.

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Inertia
[B]Interesting question, EFFLUVIA. :bigsmile:

at first i didnt know what you were grinning about inertia, but after looking up effluvia in the dictionary, i dont know what to think.

hey, what do you think youre trying to say?! :wink: i hope someone trying to pronounce my nick doesnt categorize it under a homophone contranym.

all malapropisms on my name are excused…except inertias because it wasnt unintentional. it was with malice. :stuck_out_tongue: :stuck_out_tongue: