Contronym: a word with two opposite meanings – You Don’t Say By Ray Hudson Vol. 108

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Ray Hudson
Ray Hudson
Ray Hudson

But first, Trump! Anyone look up the meaning of the word trump? It’s an early 16th century variation of “triumph” – you got that right! Trump is also the term for a card that is a valuable resource that may be played, especially as a surprise in order to gain an advantage – you got that right! And now for a Trump contronym is: a stealth card to be played in moments of finesse to win. The other meaning is an archaic word for a trumpet or a trumpet blast which requires a lot of brass and hot air.

Now for something completely different, but not! More contronyms:

Bill: An invoice for payment, not the more ‘chic’ and incorrect “cheque” which in fact is a quickly disappearing method of conveying money when cash isn’t available. Oh yes, and don’t forget, ducks don’t have cheques. They have very hard lips called “bills.”

Bolt: Meaning to secure (with a sliding metal rod..bolt the door!) or conversely to flee. If, in the medieval days, you fled too slowly you could become what is called a ‘dead’ bolt.

Bound: Means heading to a destination, conversely, restrained from movement. Do a good job, impress the boss and you could be bound for glory while becoming even more tied up in your work. And they said there were no strings attached. Hmffff!

Buckle: To connect, or conversely to break or collapse: One two buckle my shoe, as the old rhyme goes. Buckle my belt by all means but build my bridges properly or they too may buckle – (another rhyme) London Bridge is falling down…
Custom
: Meaning: a common practice or practices or customs meaning special treatment or attention. That’s what you get when the Customs Officer finds you’ve been cheating. Oh yes, and other Canadian customs include eating Poutine or beaver tails (fried pastry) in the cold in the Gatineau Hills or on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa. Canadians also have a custom of apologizing even when you don’t need to – sorry about that.

Dust: To apply or to clean accumulations of dust particles, such as fingerprint dust, applied by the police investigating your break in. Conversely, dusting is also to remove the dust (after the CSI officer has made a super mess with all that black powder, got the finger prints and left you with the mess to clean up. BTW, His theme song is “Someday my prints will come” but I digress.

Fast: Meaning quick, or conversely, stuck or made stable. The only way I can see of combining fast and stuck is by using crazy glue! Now, that’s a quick and permanent solution to hanging the gate on the stable… because you know, when the horse is gone, you’re walking pal (and not so fast)!

Finished: Completed, or ended or destroyed, such as what happens to your career after that incident at the Christmas party when you…oh, never mind! You might say that your term at the company may become completed, while in fact, your career is more likely destroyed (unless you can wipe that memory stick with the video).

Fix: Meaning to repair, or to castrate: Once you’ve done the latter you can’t do the former. Perhaps that’s why the vets like the word ‘neutered’ instead. Doesn’t seem quite as painful.
Flog: To promote persistently or shamelessly, conversely to criticize or beat – which may be one in the same if the object is a “dead horse,” which it really isn’t (a dead horse I mean).

Garnish: To decorate, as part of food preparation, remember Martha Stewart or the melodious Julia Child. Conversely it means to take away, as in garnishing your wages (and we don’t mean decorating the cheque).

Hold up: To keep the trousers from falling down by using suspenders or holder-uppers. The other meaning, to impede, really means to impede my ability to enjoy the fruits of my labour as the government continuously increases my taxes – which by any definition – is a hold up!

Have an interesting week…or not.