Contranyms

How does a language evolve to contain contranyms, i.e., words with opposite meanings (e.g., Bolt – to fasten or to flee quickly)? After all, throughout history there were professional lexicographers keeping track of words and their definitions. A conscientious lexicographer would most certainly have prevented such confusing language. So, what happened? While I don’t have any proof whatsoever, my extensive research on two human subjects points squarely to practical jokers. As a practical joker myself, I can only aspire to have my misdeeds carry into the future like that. Well done, mystery jokesters!

These musings brought to you by Doctor S. Check out his adventures in the books entitled “Welcome to Earth, Doctor S” and “Doctor S and the Great Diamond Escapade”.

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