Homographic homophonic antonyms

Dinosaur Comics are Awesome
Dinosaur Comics are Awesome

I first started thinking about this a while back when I saw a Dinosaur Comic on this subject.

Homographic homophonic antonyms are words that are spelled the same and pronounced the same but have opposite meanings.

The example in the attached comic is “dust,” but a quick Google search reveals others like “weather,” (enduring something or eroding something). I’ve found that most of the examples are kind of contrived, though.

  • “Out”—as in “the stars are out” vs “turn out the lights”—I guess, but that’s kind of stretching it.
  • “Fast”—as in “to run fast” vs “to hold fast”—ehh … I guess.

I think the reason I don’t like these is because they’re different parts of speech.

I thought of one this week that works pretty well, although I’m not sure if it counts, since it’s two words—”lucked out.” I’ve heard it used to mean both experiencing something fortunate or something unfortunate.

“Wow! You caught the ball at the baseball game! You really lucked out!” vs “They didn’t have any left by the time you got there? You really lucked out.”

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The Grey Literature

This is the personal blog of Benjamin Gregory Carlisle PhD. Queer; Academic; Queer academic. "I'm the research fairy, here to make your academic problems disappear!"

3 thoughts on “Homographic homophonic antonyms”

  1. Raze and raise is the only pair I have seen anyone come up with. I’ve even heard it said that they are the only pair in the English language. It took me years with thus thought in the back of my mind but I finally thought of another pair of genuine Antonymic homophones. And they are…. (drumroll please)
    Rest and wrest. TYVM

  2. And apparently nobody else even thinks about these things.

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