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On another list a member mentioned a series of mysteries about a husband and wife crime solver team. Apparently in every book there is a running game where the husband provides lists of words that have opposite meanings. Does this ring a bell with anyone?

And while we are at it, what would be a word that has opposite meanings? I know there are some, but I can't think of one for the life of me.

Shoshana
 
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<Asa Lovejoy>
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Dunno about the books, but "cleve" has opposite meanings. There's a list of them in one of Bill Bryson's books, but it's not handy at the moment. Shufitz? Kalleh? Got yours? THE BOOK, you two! Behave!!! Eek
 
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Are these the Peter Shandy mysteries, full of puns, by Charlotte Macleod?

The Luck Runs Out
Wrack and Rune
Something the Cat Dragged In
The Corpse in Oozak's Pond
Vane Pursuit
An Owl Too Many
Rest You Merry
Something in the Water
Exit the Milkman


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"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
~Dalai Lama
 
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On a similar note, I'd love to recommend the Thursday Next series of books by Jasper Fforde. Great, crazy science fiction, packed full of puns and word plays.

The Eyre Affair
Lost in a Good Book
Something Rotten
The Well of Lost Plots


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"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
~Dalai Lama
 
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apparently so. And now I have another bunch of books I need to read. Gee, thanks. Just what I need, another addiction. Smile
 
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Oh, but that's the joy of it - there are always more good (and some trashy!) books to read! Hallelujah!


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"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
~Dalai Lama
 
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quote:
I'd love to recommend the Thursday Next series of books by Jasper Fforde.
I'd like to second that recommendation! Great fun!


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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jo asked, "And while we are at it, what would be a word that has opposite meanings?"

Such a word is called contranym. One example is "cleave," as Asa points out. Another is the verb "sanction," which became a bit of an in-joke between tsuwm and me here. Various on-line lists of contranyms, easily found by google, are kept by the sorts of people who keep such things.

"Contronym" may not be the only term used for such words. As I recall, they are also called "Janus words," and there may be further names too. tsuwm, can you chime in here?
 
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I'd never heard of a contranym before! What other -nyms are there? I know about homonyms and antonyms and synonyms . . .

Why did we spend time in school learning about wars when we should have been learning more nyms????


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"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
~Dalai Lama
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Caterwauller:
I'd never heard of a contranym before! What other -nyms are there? I know about homonyms and antonyms and synonyms . . .

Why did we spend time in school learning about wars when we should have been learning more nyms????


Onelook lists 94 nyms.
 
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Ack! Apparently I had a brief failing of professional prowess to not use the wildcard and do my own such search. Some of those leads from onelook were dead . . . being bad spellings leading you to "see" references. Some of the compound words are not what I would consider words on their own. Thanks, though, it gave me some new words to think about!


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"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
~Dalai Lama
 
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quote:
Originally posted by shufitz:

"Contronym" may not be the only term used for such words. As I recall, they are also called "Janus words," and there may be further names too. tsuwm, can you chime in here?


catching up again..
I asked Jesse Sheidlower this question many moons ago. In addition to contr[a/o]nym and antagonym, which I mentioned, he suggested Janus words and auto-antonym.

Incidentally, contronym defeats contranym 767 to 369 in a google-off. antagonym rates 695, autoantonym 81, and Janus word 209.

as you can see, no great concensus has developed as to what to call this phenomenon, which is after all mostly a linguistic curiosity.

of some interest, Janus word is the only one of these terms to appear in the AHD; and it uses sanction and cleave(!) as examples.

Janus word
 
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The Greek root for 'name' is onym-. The medial -o- is not just a linking vowel, omissible if the previous part ends in a vowel. So contronym is better formed than contranym, though I can't believe I'm writing that about a hybrid Latin-Greek... antonym is the authentic Greek equivalent, and as that doesn't mean what we want it to mean, it should be expanded to autantonym.
 
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>it should be expanded to autantonym

bonne chance with your crusade, aput. although the google results are meager, they are not without some cachet.
 
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