You Must Know About The Contronym Words In English

Have you ever realized that there are several words in English that have meanings that are not only different but opposite each other? For example the word sanction, on the one hand, it means permission or permit, but on the other hand, it also means punishment or punishment british life skills. Words that have 2 opposing meanings are known as contronym or auto-antonym. Are you curious about what contronym is in English? Let’s see the explanation and example in this article! Apart from that, you should take the a2 english test if you want to get a UK visa.


The term contronym was first used by Joseph Twadell Shipley, a drama critic, and writer in 1960. Previously, the word contronym was often also called an antagonist, self-antonym, Janus word, antilogy, and enantiodromia. Usually, contronyms occur because there are many variations in English, such as American English, British English, Australian English, and so on. In addition, contronym words generally involve two parties, and their meaning can change depending on the point of view where the sentence is seen, whether from the side of the subject or object.

Examples of Other Contronyms

You can see various types of contronyms along with their two meanings which are opposite an example in the sentence below:

Bound can mean moving towards a location, or binding and inhibiting movement.

The ships were bound to Europe.
I cannot go as I am bound to my work.

Buckle means connecting, but it can also mean being scattered.

He buckled the belt around his waist.
The roof is under the weight of the snow.

Dust can be interpreted as sweeping something or sprinkling something.

The maid dusted off the dirt from the table.
The brown sugar was dusted all over the cinnamon roll.

The left can mean staying or leaving.

Only one left in the room.
They have left the room.

Sanctions can be used to approve something or allow, but can also be used to ban something or punish.

The country acted without the sanction of the other nations.
A number of countries have imposed sanctions against North Korea for its nuclear policy.