The Ambiguity Of Contronyms

Encountering a word that contradicts its own meaning can be a challenge to understanding. Nevertheless, such words exist, and are called contronyms, and their opposite meaning depends on the context of the sentence. On the other hand, many of them are well known and commonly used in both ways. How this works in practice will be found in this article.

Overlook: To supervise, or to neglect

Trim: To add or to remove

Variety: A particular type, or many types

Custom: Collective habits, or specially prepared for an individual

Dust: To add (sprinkle sugar) or to remove from (to wipe dust from furniture)

Throw out: To dispose of, or to present for consideration

Out: Visible or invisible

Trip: Journey or stumble

Photos: Shutterstock / Graphic Design: Martina Advaney

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