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The chaotic quirks of English: Janus words

Janus, two-faced Roman god


Here’s a little riddle for my fellow language nuts: What do the words buckle, bound, oversight, sanction and fast have in common?

Believe it or not, all of these words are their own opposites. How, you ask? This is just one of the many quirks of English resulting from its murky and layered past…

These words have two completely contradictory meanings, depending on the context in which they appear. For example, sanction means ‘prohibit’ or ‘impose a penalty’, but rather confusingly, it also means ‘allow’. Oversight means ‘monitoring’, but also means ‘a failure to see something’. Take it from our French team, this can be a real pain for those translating from English… Read on (Rachel King)

Click here to read the full article on Over the Word’s website




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