Janus word


a word with opposite meanings

STATISTICS

IN THE PRESS

“JANUS’s image – usually depicted with two heads, one looking back into the past and the other looking forward into the future – is often found carved over doorways and gates.”

The Spell Zone

Did you
know?

Janus Word
noun phrase

- a word that has two meanings that are opposite or nearly opposite


ORIGIN

Derived from the Roman God Janus who is identified with doors, gates, and all beginnings and depicted with two opposite faces.


SYNONYMS

antilogy, auto-antonym, contronym, contradictanyma, enantionymy, enantiosemy, JANUS WORD


EXAMPLES

- bolt = to fasten, to secure (Bolt the door at night) + to flee (The cat bolted away)

- clip = to attach, to cut (Clip the pages together) + to remove (The hairdresser clipped off too much of my hair)

- dust = to remove dust (Remember to dust under the bed) + to add (Dust the cake with icing sugar)

- mean: unkind, aggressive, nasty (My maths teacher was really mean) + excellent (My wife makes mean pasta dishes)

- rent = to pay someone to use their property (We rented a chalet in Switzerland for our holiday) + to offer someone use of your property in exchange for payment (We rented out our flat when we were on holiday)

- weather = to withstand (Lifeboats are built to weather the worst storms) + to deteriorate (The west wall has weathered badly over the years)


WARNING!

- table a topic = to discuss a topic at a meeting (in British English) + to postpone a topic at a meeting (in American English)


PRACTICE OWAD in an English conversation, discuss something like:

“Take care with the verb ‘to table”, it’s a JANUS word with opposite meanings in the US and UK.”


HERZLICHEN DANK to all readers helping me keep OWAD alive with single or monthly donations at:

https://donorbox.org/please-become-a-friend-of-owad-3

Paul Smith

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