Wordsmith.org: the magic of words

Wordsmith Talk

About Us | What's New | Search | Site Map | Contact Us  

Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2
#91029 - 01/04/03 05:25 PM seeking paradoxical words  
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 2
dschwartz65 Offline
stranger
dschwartz65  Offline
stranger

Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 2
Chapel Hill, NC USA
I'm collecting a list of paradoxical words, that is, words that in some sense contain their own contradiction. The word "exoteric" (AWAD 10/22) is a good example: It is essentially an antonym of "esoteric" and means "not limited to an inner circle of select people, suitable for the general public." However, I suspect that only a small inner circle of select people ( i.e., AWAD enthusiasts and similar word lovers) know what exoteric means. The word "exoteric" is therefore esoteric.

Please post any other words of this type that you may know, including a brief explanation of why they are paradoxical. I will post the complete list of submitted words to the AWAD forum.

If you know of a list of paradoxical terms in English that someone else already has compiled, please let me know where to find it.

Thanks!

David

David Schwartz
Department of Neurobiology
Duke University Medical Center


David Schwartz
Department of Neurobiology
Duke University Medical Center
#91030 - 01/04/03 06:37 PM cabbage [wink]  
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 122
rav Offline
member
rav  Offline
member

Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 122
Poland, Cracow

#91031 - 01/04/03 06:40 PM Re: seeking paradoxical words  
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 13,858
wwh Offline
Carpal Tunnel
wwh  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 13,858
Dear dschwartz65:
An interesting question. In searching for something that might fit, a found a site about
oxymorons you might enjoy browsing. Some of them are debatable, but that could be
the interesting part.
http://www.wordexplorations.com/oxymora-a-f.html


#91032 - 01/04/03 07:43 PM Re: seeking paradoxical words  
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 13,858
wwh Offline
Carpal Tunnel
wwh  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 13,858

#91033 - 01/04/03 08:24 PM Re: seeking paradoxical words  
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 10,538
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel
tsuwm  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 10,538
this too shall pass
if I apprehend (yet another!) David's question correctly, he seeks not words that can be defined in two nearly opposite senses (self-contradicting, enantiodromic)*, but rather words such as those in column one of the "cabbage puzzle"--non-selfdescriptive (heterological) words; e.g., monosyllabic, adjective.

one of my favorite words which exhibits this quality is orthoepy, which has the meaning "the customary pronunciation of words"; orthoepy has two accepted pronunciations.

*self-contradicting words have been discussed in these pages to some degree in the past.

(for that matter, heterological words have come up in a couple of threads, notably this one: http://wordsmith.org/board/showflat.pl?Cat=&Board=words&Number=6120)


#91034 - 01/05/03 02:54 AM strange loops are everywhere  
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,268
wofahulicodoc Offline
Carpal Tunnel
wofahulicodoc  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,268
Worcester, MA
http:// wordsmith.org/board/showflat.pl?Cat=&Board=words&Number=6120)

Isn't this another incarnation ofwhat is officially called Russell's Paradox? There are classes which include themselves, and classes which don't include themselves - to which one does the class-of-things-that-do-not-include-themselves belong? (Substitute "catalog" for "class" if it makes it more concrete.)


#91035 - 01/05/03 01:21 PM Re: strange loops are everywhere  
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 13,803
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Faldage  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 13,803
to which one does the class-of-things-that-do-not-include themselves belong?

It belongs to the Gödelian Just-cause-we-wrap-our-tongues-around-some-sounds-doesn't-mean-we-know-what-we're-talking-about class.


#91036 - 01/05/03 09:24 PM This satement is false.  
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,268
wofahulicodoc Offline
Carpal Tunnel
wofahulicodoc  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,268
Worcester, MA
Right! Go to the head of the class!

But it really is Russell's Paradox


#91037 - 01/06/03 01:50 AM Re: seeking paradoxical words  
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 2
dschwartz65 Offline
stranger
dschwartz65  Offline
stranger

Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 2
Chapel Hill, NC USA
Many thanks to all who have posted ideas so far. Deliberately self-contradictory terms (e.g., sophmore), and logical conundrums (e.g. Russel's paradox) are great fun, but i think I have something different in mind, namely, instances where the paradox is not built into the word or phrase but arises from a particular social context. In other words, while "sophmore" will always be an oxymoron, "exoteric" will be paradoxical only as long as its use remains limited to a small circle of people. If, for example, William Safire were to write a column about "exoteric" being a paradoxical word, the word would no longer be paradoxical, or less so anyway.

There may not actually be very many such words. I hadn't given the matter much thought until I came across 'exoteric' the October AWAD posting.





David Schwartz
Department of Neurobiology
Duke University Medical Center


David Schwartz
Department of Neurobiology
Duke University Medical Center
#91038 - 01/06/03 02:50 AM Re: seeking paradoxical words  
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 872
milum Offline
old hand
milum  Offline
old hand

Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 872
Birmingham, Alabama
Neato construction,

Mr. Dschwartz, but I fear that lingual constructions that you feel exist will be found to be as rare as ticks on a turtle. Think a minute. What grouping of thought concepts could be arranged so as to have an inadvertant conceptual gravitation towards paradox. You'll agree not many. But think about it, your question ...

While "sophmore" will always be an oxymoron, "exoteric" will be paradoxical only as long as its use remains limited to a small circle of people
is in itself paradoxical.


In the absolute, David, that is true. But do you have time to find another?



Page 1 of 2 1 2

Moderated by  Jackie 

Forum Statistics
Forums16
Topics13,877
Posts223,478
Members9,000
Most Online3,341
Dec 9th, 2011
Newest Members
Hiteshi, JaneJane, Baldilocks, BookVenturePress, fraidknot
9000 Registered Users
Who's Online Now
0 registered members (), 46 guests, and 4 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Top Posters(30 Days)
Top Posters(All Time)
wwh 13,858
Faldage 13,803
Jackie 11,613
tsuwm 10,538
LukeJavan8 8,844
AnnaStrophic 6,511
Wordwind 6,296
of troy 5,400
Disclaimer: Wordsmith.org is not responsible for views expressed on this site. Use of this forum is at your own risk and liability - you agree to hold Wordsmith.org and its associates harmless as a condition of using it.

Home | Today's Word | Yesterday's Word | Subscribe | FAQ | Archives | Search | Feedback
Wordsmith Talk | Wordsmith Chat

© 1994-2017 Wordsmith

Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.6.0
Page Time: 0.016s Queries: 14 (0.003s) Memory: 2.7259 MB (Peak: 2.8600 MB) Zlib disabled. Server Time: 2017-04-25 10:31:14 UTC