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Substitution of opposites

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Substitution of opposites

Postby Audiendus » Wed Feb 24, 2010 4:57 pm

In some sentences, it is possible to replace a word with its opposite while keeping the meaning of the sentence the same, or almost the same. Here are some examples:

He slowed up./He slowed down.
The aircraft landed down in a valley./The aircraft landed up in a valley.
Our team was well beaten./Our team was badly beaten.
Our team was bested./Our team was worsted.
My boss spoke to me sharply./My boss spoke to me bluntly.
In the 1920s, jazz was hot./In the 1920s, jazz was cool.
He lost his temper./He lost his calmness.
The enemy is before us./The enemy is after us.
It's a paradise of an island./It's a hell of an island.

Can anyone think of other examples?
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Postby Slava » Mon Mar 15, 2010 4:33 pm

Scrub up/scrub down
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Postby saparris » Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:59 pm

I've been looking at this thread for a while now and can't come up with anything new, except this:

When you want to be cooler or warmer, you can turn the air up or turn the air down. I've heard it both ways.

Doesn't work for heat, however.
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Postby Slava » Tue Apr 06, 2010 2:05 pm

I once read a detective story that started with the hero talking about how he collected verbs that could mean their opposite. I don't remember any of them, but I do recall the one I came up with to add to the list:

Dust - dusting furniture v. dusting crops.

I don't remember the title of the book, either. It wasn't very good. "D'Estang's City," or something like that.
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Postby saparris » Tue Apr 06, 2010 2:21 pm

Dust - dusting furniture v. dusting crops.


Good one.

There's also a near opposite meaning with "cleaning your house" and "cleaning your clock."
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Postby Slava » Tue Apr 06, 2010 4:32 pm

Another one I just was reminded of: moot. Depending on the situation, it's either something to be discussed, or something not worthy of discussion.
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Postby saparris » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:55 pm

Where on earth did you come across that! (ha)
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Postby Stargzer » Sat Apr 10, 2010 2:03 pm

Let me guess: a moo point is bull, or one you use to cow down someone.
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Postby Slava » Sat Apr 10, 2010 2:18 pm

saparris wrote:Where on earth did you come across that! (ha)
It's something I looked up a long time ago, but here's what dictionary.com has to say:

1. open to discussion or debate; debatable; doubtful: a moot point.
2. of little or no practical value or meaning; purely academic.
3. Chiefly Law. not actual; theoretical; hypothetical.

–verb (used with object)
4. to present or introduce (any point, subject, project, etc.) for discussion.
5. to reduce or remove the practical significance of; make purely theoretical or academic.
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