Natalie Solent

Politics, news, libertarianism, Science Fiction, religion, sewing. You got a problem, bud? I like sewing.

E-mail: nataliesolent-at-aol-dot-com (I assume it's OK to quote senders by name.)

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Jane's Blogosphere: blogtrack for Natalie Solent.


( 'Nother Solent is this blog's good twin. Same words, searchable archives, RSS feed. Provided by a benefactor, to whom thanks.
I also sometimes write for Samizdata and Biased BBC.)

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Tuesday, November 01, 2005
As is usual when I get back from being away I have a pile hundreds of electrons thick of individually fascinating but collectively intimidating emails. One reader says she likes my blog and can show me images of herself and her friends having fun. Thank you, dear lady, but I must decline. By the way, despite your familiar greeting, I must state that I do not recall ever making your acquaintance.

But there were several emails from people I genuinely did know (even if only internetally) on the subject of self-antonyms. (I knew that word really.) One reader writes:

I see you've discovered self-antonyms, a word type I've tried to collect but have found only a few examples. One you might particularly like is the verb "dust", which means both "remove small particles" and "add small particles". One might also consider "bad", which now also means "good" in certain slang dialects, but I don't think the usage is sufficiently common.

An archaic choice is "let", which used to mean "hinder" as well as "permit", although the former has fallen in to disuse.
Not entirely into disuse. My proper blue British passport with its reassuringly stiff cover may have been replaced by a floppy, burgundy-coloured (how suitable those two adjectives are) euro pseudopass but the inside front cover still contains, if only in mockery, the following words:
Her Britannic Majesty's Secretary of State Requests and requires in the Name of Her Majesty all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance, and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary.
I don't know whether Michael Greenspan (who gave his address as "Bronx, NY, The Colonies") knew that I had to be afforded assistance because my passport says so, or whether he just wrote out of the goodness of his heart, but he too has a self-antonym to add to my collection. He wrote:
"Possessed." It can mean "calm" or "frenzied."
Now that I have been reminded of the word "self-antonym" I could just Google it. But I won't. That's cheating. I shall stand... fast.