Contronyms – IOTW Report



This can mean taking dust off of something or dusting onto something.

“I need to dust the furniture.” “I need to dust the donuts.”


This can mean to attach something to something or detach something.

“I clipped the badge to my lapel.” “I clipped the lapel off my suit.”


This can mean approving something or penalizing it.

“I sanction your idea.” “Because of that idea, I sanction you.”

Does anyone have more examples?

32 Comments on Contronyms

  1. “Justice” now has a completely opposite meaning from the original when Communists use it, not sure if that counts…

    “And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.”
    Isaiah 59:14

    …truer words never spoken, for so too have equity and truth been turned on their heads, perhaps they now are contrary to themselves too…

  2. This doesn’t fit exactly, but…
    Years ago our small town cop stopped me for whatever I was doing (could have been one of a dozen things). He apparently didn’t have his ticket book so he told me to stop by the office the next day “to get your citation”. I said, “You mean you’re giving me an award for this? Far out!” He was not amused.


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