GrammarPhile Blog

Janus Words

Posted by Phil Jamieson   May 15, 2012 6:30:00 AM

A word with several meanings is polysemous. One of the more interesting forms is the Janus word, also sometimes called an autoantonym or a contranym, in which two of the meanings of the word are opposites of each other. A Janus word is so named for Janus, a Roman god that is identified with doors, gates, and all beginnings and that is depicted with two opposite faces.

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Topics: antonym

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