Words that can mean two opposite things - Page 2


Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12
Results 11 to 15 of 15

Thread: Words that can mean two opposite things

  1. #11
    Again, not a single word, but a phrase - when someone isn't bothered about something one way or the other.
    In the UK we say, "I couldn't care less," but an American says, "I could care less."


  2. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    A good one is 'table'. Can mean to either put something forward to be proposed "It's all on the table" or withdrawn from consideration "let's table this for now". I think in British English "let's table this for now" would be to put it forward for consideration, which is the exact opposite of US English.

    Slang is definitely rife with this stuff. To say you maintain a "cool relationship with someone" can mean either you are 'cool with them', a positive, or that you feel cool toward them, which is negative. Likewise, the word 'hot' is very ambiguous. Donald Trump was 'hot' at the debate according to pundits, meaning he was out of line and the performance was poor, but saying something is 'hot' is often a positive - 'hot shot'.
    There are certainly Anglo American differences in this field, you are quite right to say we wouldn't say, "We will table this for now", it would be "We will shelve this for now", and if you told us someone was 'hot' in a debate I would certainly think they were on the mark and picked things up quickly. That reminds me of the British officer who told his American superior in Korea that 'Things were a bit warm', the American went back to bed while the Gloucesters were attacked by of thousands of fresh Chinese troops who almost wiped them out.
    37 videos so far up from 36, added 'moonlight holder' today, 19 Feb.
    Hidden Content

  3. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    Not exactly a 'spag' question, but it could be...

    I was thinking about this with regard to the word 'sanction'....


    • a threatened penalty for disobeying a law or rule.
    • official permission or approval for an action.


    It seems strange to have a word that can mean essentially two things that both almost perfectly contradict each other. If something is 'sanctioned', an action is being taken to either stop it or allow it depending entirely, it seems, on the vagaries of context. If a demonstration is 'sanctioned' it usually means it's allowed to do what it is desired. If a country is 'sanctioned' it means it isn't.

    Was wondering if there are any other words like that and how they come to exist/how to use them unambiguously?
    From time to time, this is a category on Jeopardy.

  4. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Istine View Post
    Again, not a single word, but a phrase - when someone isn't bothered about something one way or the other.
    In the UK we say, "I couldn't care less," but an American says, "I could care less."
    In America, both phrases mean exactly the same thing (and you'll hear both interchangeably), because the speakers simply aren't paying attention to the logic of the phrasing.

  5. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Olly Buckle View Post
    You would seem to imply that sanctions only apply if they are officially sanctioned sanctions; but I think most people would accept the concept of unofficial sanctions, they might even sanction such sanctions. I hope you see what I am getting at and do not sanction it; I can not sanction the idea that a sanction depends on official involvement
    In good conscience, I cannot personally sanction the sanction of a sanction which sanctions an unjustifiable sanction of a sanction where the sanction sanctions sanction.

    Just one man's opinion.

Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
This website uses cookies
We use cookies to store session information to facilitate remembering your login information, to allow you to save website preferences, to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners.