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Mar 30, 2005
This week's theme
Words about wordplay

This week's words
antanaclasis
paralipsis
antiphrasis
oxymoron
esprit d'escalier

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

antiphrasis

PRONUNCIATION:
(an-TIF-ruh-sis) Pronunciation RealAudio

MEANING:
noun: The humorous or ironic use of a word or a phrase in a sense opposite of its usual meaning.
For example: "Brutus is an honorable man." -Antony in Julius Caesar (Shakespeare)

ETYMOLOGY:
From Late Latin, from Greek antiphrazein (to express by the opposite), from anti- + phrazein (to speak).

USAGE:
"He was murmuring something between lips decorated by a little mustache, which gave a sarcastic touch to his clerk-like expression, a mustache folded over his mouth like an antiphrasis, which tinged whatever he said with maliciousness, no matter how solemn it was."
Edoardo Albinati & John Satriano; Story Written on a Motorcycle; Antioch Review (Yellow Springs, Ohio); Summer 1992.

"Perhaps Charles McGrath, in The New Yorker, sums up the ambivalence most eloquently. 'How good are these books really?' he asks, and answers: not so good--although he does so in the more flattering antiphrasis of 'good enough that you wish they were even better.'"
Neil Gordon; The Admiral; Village Voice (New York); Jun 6, 1995.

See more usage examples of antiphrasis in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
A kiss can be a comma, a question mark or an exclamation point. -Mistinguett, singer (1875-1956)

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