25 Contronyms That Are Their Own Opposites

Usually when you think of opposites you think of two separate words. Hot and cold, fast and slow, black and white, up and down. But what about when the same word is its own opposite? Is your mind blown? Well it should be. But the craziest thing is that these unique words are not even that unique. There are a bunch of them. At least enough for us to write an entire list. Contronyms, as they are called, are quite interesting aspects of any language. The most bizarre thing, however, is that they are words you already know. You probably just never thought about them in the way that we are about to think of them. From this point on though you’ll probably go around trying to find contronyms in every sentence. Well, that might be an exaggeration but it’s definitely fun to look at language and words differently than you have before. It gives you a new appreciation for the simple things in life. So next the alarm goes off while the lights are off you can think to yourself, “It’s a contronym!”. With all of that said, get ready because these are 25 contronyms that are their own opposites.

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FastSource: wiktionary, Image: pixabay

Fast can signify “moving rapidly” as in “swimming fast”, but it can also mean “fixed or unmoving” as in “holding fast”.



StoneSource: wiktionary, Image: pixabay

This verb has two meanings. If you stone a fruit, you remove the stone from it. If you stone a person you throw stones at them.



SanctionSource: wiktionary, Image: pixabay

To sanction something can either mean to condone it or to impose a penalty on it.



SeedSource: wiktionary, Image: pixabay

Like “stone”, “seed” can either imply adding or removing seeds. If you seed a lawn you are adding seeds to the lawn but if you seed a tomato you are removing seeds.



OffSource: wiktionary, Image: pixabay

Off can refer to something that is “deactivated” as in “the light is turned off”, but it can also refer to something that is activated as in “the alarm went off”.

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