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Jun 4, 2012
This week's theme
Contranyms

This week's words
enjoin
liege
nickel-and-dime
prodigious
cull

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

We all have a bit of Jekyll and Hyde in us, a bit of yin and yang. So do the words for this week. They have split personalities. They are words with opposite meanings.

These words with contradictory meanings may appear to hinder, as opposed to aid, the conversation, but they don't really pose a problem. It becomes clear in the context which of the two opposing meanings applies: A fireman fights fire in a city, but stokes fire in a steam locomotive.

These words with contrary meanings are known as contranyms. Sometimes the meanings are as diverse as black and white (cleave: to split, to stick), but often they are in shades of gray.

enjoin

PRONUNCIATION:
(en-JOIN)

MEANING:
verb tr.:
1. To order or prescribe a course of action.
2. To forbid or restrain.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Old French enjoindre, from Latin injungere (to join), from in- (towards) + jungere (to join). Ultimately from the Indo-European root yeug- (to join), which is also the ancestor of junction, yoke, yoga, adjust, juxtapose, junta, syzygy, jugular, and rejoinder. Earliest documented use: around 1225.

USAGE:
"Ajanlekoko enjoined the members of the Building Collapse Prevention Guild (BCPG) to continue the struggle."
Okwy Iroegbu-Chikezie; Group Advises Govt on Building Failures; The Nation (Lagos, Nigeria); May 22, 2012.

"It asks a court to declare the ordinance invalid and enjoin the city from enforcing it."
Bruce Vielmetti; Hispanic Group Sues Over Milwaukee Contracting Rule; The Journal Sentinel (Milwaukee, Wisconsin); May 1, 2012.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
You must have been warned against letting the golden hours slip by. Yes, but some of them are golden only because we let them slip by. -James M. Barrie, novelist and playwright (1860-1937)

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