Trivia Teaser

Which dramatist wrote "The Merry Wives Of Windsor"?

Dickens
Shakespeare
Chaucer
Bennett

Tell Me About It!

19
Aug
2008
 

By Christine Lovatt

We often congratulate ourselves on how lucky we are that our English language has so many fine and noble words, rich in meanings, shades and subtle nuances, enabling us to describe an object or event to the nth degree.


However, have you ever noticed that there are quite a few words in the English language that have two meanings which are the exact opposite of each other?
Mad, for instance, means both very enthusiastic and very angry. To scan means either to scrutinise minutely or to glance at quickly. Sanction means approval or punishment. Terrific is great or frightening.


A reservation is something we make when we know where we are going – or what we have when we don’t know. What a strange language it is, quite hysterical really - that is, frenzied with fear or wildly funny. Do we really know which meaning is intended in every case?


Sometimes we have to make a judgement depending on the user of the word. Some of our respectable senior citizens might judge tattooed rock stars with nose rings, for example, as wicked - the very same word that admiring teenagers would use, with opposite meaning. 


In the case of our crosswords, we advise that you keep an open mind. In the dictionary, the word fast is defined as "facilitating rapid movement" or "firmly fixed, not easily moved". 

    
Refrain, in song, means to repeat a certain part. It also means to abstain (please refrain from swearing). Cleave means to adhere closely or to split asunder. To have left could either mean to have departed or have still remaining.


It's a funny old language all right. Consider the word riot. You may describe a good party as a riot, but would you really enjoy a violent clash with an unruly mob?


Presently, I am writing this article but in a short while, ie. presently, I will have finished. It's a wonder we have any idea what we're talking about!


Happy puzzling!

 

 

2 Responses to

Tell Me About It!

avatar
June 07, 2009 at 11:23 AM

cool blog gril you go for it

avatar
June 07, 2009 at 11:24 AM

1 silly name 2 find a life and 3 silly blog kate101