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.

Featured Image: Kirsty Hall via Flickr

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20

Screen

ScreenSource: wiktionary, Image: pixabay

This can mean to show a movie, or to hide something from view.

19

Cleave

CleaveSource: wiktionary, Image: pixabay

This can mean “to cling to” but it can also mean “to separate”.

18

Oversight

OversightSource: wiktionary, Image: pixabay

Oversight can mean “supervision” (to look at from above) or to overlook something (pass over without noticing)

17

Resign

ResignSource: wiktionary, Image: Kate Haskell via Flickr

These two words are actually pronounced differently. One means to quit and the other means to sign up again (re-sign).

16

Weathered

WeatheredSource: wiktionary, Image: pixabay

If somebody weathered something, they withstood it. If something is weathered, however, it has been worn away.

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