Bolt, buckle and dust the child…

Ok. What’s common between bolt, buckle, clip, consult, left, dust, screen and Rohāmrta?

They are all contronyms. That is, they can, depending on context, have opposite or contradictory meanings.

For instance, bolt can mean to secure, or to flee, dust can mean adding fine particles, or removing them…and so on.

Which is why many words in English cannot be taken literally, since context matters a lot. When someone asks me the meaning of a word, I usually ask them to tell me the sentence – since the meaning is usually hidden in the sentence itself.

Oh hold on a minute, you say. What’s Rohāmrta doing in this list?

Well, why not? All babies are contronyms isn’t it? The shaking of the head can mean no, or wow…the gentle yell (now that is an oxymoron, which has nothing to do with well-ventilated fools) can mean hunger, or boredom, or both, food eaten with relish today can be treated as anathema tomorrow…all parents play guessing games every single day.

Maybe this can be an Olympic sport of some kind, to help realize some pot-bellied father’s unfinished dream?

Nevertheless, we all use contronyms, both in words and deeds. Somethings we do for the sake of it, and it can actually be that we dislike those tasks to the core…but we still do them with a smile because we have to. We smile at people when smirking inside, we help people only to expect a lot more in return, we wish people well while hoping for their failure within…

So what came first? The contronym, or the feeling? Hmmm..

Closer home – a contronym of kinds, below…

PS: The movie is good, and I saw it in Telugu. See you tomorrow!