Monday, September 28, 2015

Some Words (Homonyms) and Non-synonymous Antonyms

Ever thought about words that have more than one antonym, and that those antonyms are not synonyms to each other? As an example, during a car ride, one word that I am often cognizant about is "right". The best word to confirm a traffic turn is "correct", not "right", especially if turning left.

From Merriam-Webster:

antonym
a word with a meaning that is opposite to the meaning of another word

synonym
a word that has the same meaning as another word in the same language
a word, name, or phrase that very strongly suggests a particular idea, quality, etc.

In the following 18 common words with antonym pairs, for two cases, I list "ordinary/normal" for antonyms, as those antonyms are somewhat synonymous with each other.

left
RIGHT
wrong
right
LEFT
arrived
soft
HARD
easy
fall
RISE
set
spring
FALL
rise
cold
HOT
mild
less
MORE
fewer
gain
LOSE
win
small
GREAT
horrible
stranger
FRIEND
foe
familiar
STRANGE
ordinary/normal
even
ODD
ordinary/normal
heavy
LIGHT
dark
sad
HAPPY
angry
happy
MAD
sane
tall
SHORT
long
thick
THIN
wide
coarse
FINE
ill

While I jotted down words and antonyms, a few related word ideas popped up. Because I don't foresee writing up a separate blog article for them separately or collectively, I'm including these miscellaneous thoughts here.

scan: visually skim vs. using a machine to read an image

round shape: circle (2D) vs. sphere (3D)

2D confusion—pane vs. panel

From "Re: Pane or Panel ?":
A pane is a (usually) independently scrollable subsection of a window. It's what you get, for example, if you drag the splitter bar in a Word window.

A panel is an object that is used to group controls and other objects. It is often but not always dragable, occasionally resizable or scrollable. Most toolbars, for example, consist of a panel with buttons. Panels may or may not have a visible border.
From "window pane/panel":
Example: your window is 2 meters in width. The curtains come in 0.5m panels. You will need to buy four panels to cover the window with curtains.

Panels are made of fabric. Panes are made of glass.
As a final thought, I suggest a practical colloquialism to replace "practicable"—"doable". Although "practicable" seems to have finer granularity for definitions, I myself prefer "doable". BTW, I avoided using either word in technical writing.

October 5, 2015 Update

In a discussion about this article on the Publishing and Editing Professionals LinkedIn Group, a commenter pointed out that my 18 words are actually homonyms. Sure enough, one Merriam-Webster definition is "one of two or more words spelled and pronounced alike but different in meaning".

One of the other definitions is "homophone". Merriam-Webster's definition for "homophone" is "a word that is pronounced like another word but is different in meaning, origin, or spelling". Note the additional condition, "spelling". Thus, homophones are a special kind of homonym that often trips up people when they use the incorrect soundalike. And spell checkers don't even flag such words because they're real words.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...