Monday, July 03, 2006


I enjoy What's in Rebecca's Pocket? for her little tidbits of data and opinion. She's easy and interesting reading with a world of other outlets where she puts more substance.

Her post a few days ago was a usual sort: Words that are their own antonym with a link to fun-with-words. "Auto-antonym has Greek roots meaning a word that is the opposite of itself."

Here are a couple of the examples given:

• restrained (e.g. by rope)
• to spring; leap

• to fasten together; hold tightly
• to cut apart; cut off (e.g. with shears)

• usual; normal
• special; unique

• fixed firmly in place
• moving quickly; speedy

It's a fun list; stuff you knew and perhaps you didn't realize.

But, there's always a but, then came...

• impossible to enter (e.g. of a fortress)
• able to be impregnated


Not only am I am libidinous, infertile oxymoron of a mother, I am an auto-antonym. Impregnable is the single most accurate word to describe secondary infertility. Years ago, I was once able to be impregnated, then my eggs became impossible to enter. I am a fortress now, shut up tight, a bastion of aging infertility.





[Middle English imprenable, from Old French : in-, not (from Latin in-. See in-1) + prenable, pregnauble, pregnable; see pregnable.]

[impregn(ate) + -able.]

I should add it to my byline:
I'm an oxymoron: an impregnable, libidinous, infertile mom

It makes me sound more smart and less horny. So maybe I won't. One shouldn't lie in one's byline. And I fear the term, auto-erotic-antonymism, might be a bit misleading. My asthmatic lungs like air too much.


Continuing through the alphabetical auto-antonym list, more apply. I realized this word describes aptly how I (used to?) vacillate about achieving pregnancy ad nauseum:

• to quit; give up
• to sign up again

Guess! Which one is it today? Blame, that's an easy question.

It goes without saying which one of the following I usually am anymore, excepting Friday's sledding (into trees) generosity:

• murderous
• cheerfully optimistic

Actually, come to think of it, the sled gesture is at the height of pleasant tree-wrapping, storage-lacking auto-antonymism. I guess I am -nymy good these days.

I'll simply finish with this one:

wind up
• to start; prepare
• to end; conclude

Or I'll begin again and ask which of the list tickles your funny bone the most?


DD said...

Excellent point on the impregnable.

I believe SIF has tempered me: to soften; mollify / to strengthen (e.g. a metal).

"Hold Up" best describes my relationship with Mr. DD during this time.

Ron Southern said...

I always thought it was "sanguinary" that meant "cheeful, optimistic".

Take THAT, word freak!

Orange said...

I'll have to go with puzzle ("to pose a problem"/"to solve a problem") and oversight ("watchful care"/"overlooking or omission").