The Same, Only Different

An antiautonym is one of a pair of words which mean the same thing, although one word seems, for some reason, as though it should be the "opposite" of the other. This concept is related to, but different than, an autoantonym, which is a single word which means both one thing and its opposite.

Some examples of antiautonyms may simply be considered incorrect speech, but they are collected here nonetheless. Examples include:

It's not really impossible for something to be the same as its "opposite". It's unusual for words, but here's a silly example of an antiautonymical sentence:

He read half of the words on the sign.
which is equivalent to its "opposite":
He didn't read half of the words on the sign.
though not equivalent to its logical negation:
It is not the case that he read half of the words on the sign.

Last modified on 18 September 2020.