Share this entry

Share this page

contronym

Syllabification: con·tro·nym
Pronunciation: /ˈkäntrəˌnim
 
/
(also contranym)

Definition of contronym in English:

noun

A word with two opposite meanings, e.g., sanction (which can mean both ‘a penalty for disobeying a law’ and ‘official permission or approval for an action’).
Example sentences
  • Certainly, many of these contronyms are part of idiomatic expressions.
  • I'm not sure if this would be a pure contranym because the two phrases don't necessarily oppose each other.
  • Using a contronym requires the listener's knowing which of its meanings applies.

Origin

1960s: blend of contra- and -onym, on the pattern of synonym and antonym.

Definition of contronym in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day Sprachgefühl
Pronunciation: ˈʃprɑːxɡəˌfuːl
noun
intuitive understanding of a language’s natural idiom…