Re: Single word antonyms?

From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Tue Oct 14 1997 - 10:00:00 EDT

At 03:55 PM 10/13/97 -0500, John Baima wrote:
>I came across Romans 16:23 and it occurred to me that the word CENOS (sorry
>if that is not the right transliteration) is a single word antonym because
>it can mean both guest (stranger) and host (as here in Romans). Okay,
>perhaps POLITHS is the antonym in most usages, but doesn't guest/host seem
>to be opposite meanings? The usage of the word seems peculiar to me, and I
>was wondering if anyone else can think of other words which function in the
>same way.
Here in North Carolina, "borrow" can mean both "lend" and "borrow":

1. Can I borrow two dollars?
2. I borrowed him two dollars.

I think this is common in many colloquial dialects of English, and it
demonstrates that "languages can do that".

I'm pretty sure that I've run into examples of this in "proper" English and
German, but I can't think of any off-hand.


Jonathan Robie
POET Software, 3207 Gibson Road, Durham, N.C., 27703

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