CONTRONYMS: What are they?

CONTRONYMS: What are they?


Have you heard about contronyms or have any idea what they are?
Well, I’m not sure if you have heard this term before but trust me you already know what it’s about.

Lemme break it down for you:
Contro = ‘CONTRADICTORY’ (or opposite)
Nym = ‘NAME’

In simpler words, Contronyms are the words that have two different meanings and the twist is that those two meanings are actually the opposite of each other.

FASCINATING, isn’t it?

In a way, contronyms can also be termed as homonyms as they have the same spelling but different meanings.

Contronyms are also known as ‘auto-antonyms’ or ‘Janus words’ (named after an Italian deity Janus).

Let’s explore some commonly used CONTRONYMS.


  To sprinkle powdered substance (mostly on food items)
• I like to dust the cookies with chocolate powder.

To remove fine particles of dust (by wiping or brushing)
• The vase fell down while dusting the table.


  Obvious or apparent (easily visible or understood) 

• It was transparent that she was lying.
  Something so clear and see-through that it appears almost invisible
• I bumped into a transparent glass door.


   To leave or depart
• He left for the airport this morning.
   Remains of something
• There is still a lot of food left in the kitchen.


  Subtle side to side or ‘to and fro’ motion (gentle swinging)
• She rocked the baby in her arms.
   An immobile solid mass of stone
• A big rock blocked the whole road traffic.


   To get dislocated or break under pressure/strain
• My grandmother felt her knee buckle while climbing the stairs.
   To fasten or secure something to one place using a buckle
• The air hostess requested the passengers to buckle their seat belts.


To protect or conceal/hide

• You should use a sun screen if you are going out in the sunlight.
   A show/broadcast of a movie or a video
• The screening was attended by many celebrities.


   To join or stick two things together
• The baby bear cleaved to his mother’s body.
   To split into parts (especially along a straight line)
• He used an axe to cleave the wood for the bonfire.


   To start or begin (a plan or a course of action)
• We need a lot of funds to execute the plan.
   To bring to an end (carry out a person’s death sentence)
• The culprit will be executed next month.


   To fasten or to join something using clips
• Clip these files together before sending them.
   To detach by cutting or trimming something to make it tidier
• The hair dresser clipped her hair.


   To monitor or supervise something
• The bank asked for strict oversight of the company’s finances.
   To unintentionally fail to notice or see something (especially a mistake)
• They claimed that the miscalculation was just an oversight.

Learn more from our other blogs:
Better Words to Compliment Someone
GET- Phrasal Verbs

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