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Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Use context to understand meaning in the chaos of English

 Use context to understand meaning in the chaos of English

(context is king)

What is a paradox?

A paradox can be a rhetorical device or can mean a statement that is self-contradictory.

As a rhetorical device, paradox is “a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth.” 

For example: My friend is worried because the more she sleeps, the more tired she feels in the morning instead of waking up well rested.  The idea that less is more seems contradictory, but the statement contains a truth.

What is a contradiction? [ kon-truh-dik-shuhn ]  noun

The act of contradicting; gainsaying or opposition: assertion of the contrary or opposite.

A contradiction is a situation or ideas in opposition to one another. Declaring publicly that you are an environmentalist but never recycling anything is an example of a contradiction.

Synonyms for contradiction:

conflict, difference, disagreement, discrepancy, dispute, inconsistency, confutation, contravention, defiance, denial, dissension, incongruity, negation, opposite, opposition, bucking, gainsaying

What is an oxymoron?

An oxymoron is also a noun that’s defined as “a figure of speech by which a seemingly self-contradictory effect, as in ‘cruel kindness’ or  ‘to make haste slowly.'” So when contradictory or opposing words are combined, that expression is an oxymoron. 

Additional examples of this rhetorical device include living death, bittersweet, toughlove.

What is a contronym ? [con·tro·nym]  noun  plural noun: contronyms

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’).

What is a synonym for contronym?

Frequently described as "words that are their own opposites," contronyms 

(contranym is a variant spelling) are also known as Janus words, antagonyms, and autoantonyms. 

These are words that have developed contradictory meanings.

Contronym Examples:

Finished - Finished can mean completed, or ended or destroyed

All the dishes are washed so I am finished.

After the third knee injury his basketball career was finished.

Bound - Bound can mean “going to a destination” or “being restrained from movement.”

He is bound for pro sports.

The prisoner was bound by his wrists and ankles.

Fast - fast can mean quick, or stuck or made stable

The hummingbird flew very fast between flowers.

The old chewing gum was stuck fast to the sidewalk.

Buckle - Buckle can mean “to fasten or secure” or “to break or collapse.”

I made sure to properly buckle my daughter in her car seat.

The balcony buckled from the weight of too many spectators.

Left - Left can mean “leave” or “remain.”

They had left by lunch time

Expedia claims - only two seats are left.

Off - Off can mean “activated” or “deactivated.”

The alarm went off.

The alarms are off.

Throw out - Throw out can mean “to discard something” or “to offer something.”

I’m going to throw out these old shoes.

I’m going to throw out some ideas for you.

Wind up - Wind up can mean “to bring something to a conclusion or finish” or “to start something.”

Let’s wind up this meeting because it’s getting late.

You need to wind up the toy so it can start.

hypocrite - [ hip-uh-krit ] noun

A person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that they do not actually possess, especially a person whose actions are opposite of stated beliefs.

A person who feigns some desirable or publicly approved attitude, especially one whose private life, opinions, or statements are opposite of their public statements.

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