Wednesday, March 23, 2005



An antonym is a word of opposite meaning. An auto-antonym is a word that can mean the opposite of itself. There is a list of auto-antonyms here. A couple of auto-antonyms which I haven't seen on any list are the Latin adjective sacer and the English noun wold.

E.A. Andrew's Copious and Critical Latin-English Lexicon (1870) gives these contrasting definitions of sacer:
  1. Dedicated or consecrated to a divinity, holy, sacred.
  2. Devoted to a divinity for destruction, forfeited; and absol., accursed, criminal, impious, wicked.
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) defines wold as:
  1. A wood; a forest.
  2. A plain, or low hill; a country without wood, whether hilly or not.

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