Same sound, opposite meaning

Lynne Murphy lynnem at COGS.SUSX.AC.UK
Wed May 8 16:20:40 UTC 2002

--On Wednesday, May 8, 2002 8:57 am -0500 Erin McKean
<editor at VERBATIMMAG.COM> wrote:

> There's an article in the most recent VERBATIM about these things,
> also called "janus words."
> Erin McKean
> editor at
>> Is there an official term for homophonic words that have the opposite (or
>> nearly the opposite) meanings? For example: raise and raze.

But 'raise' and 'raze' aren't Janus words in the usual sense, since they're
not spelt the same.


Dr M Lynne Murphy
Lecturer in Linguistics
Acting Director, MA in Applied Linguistics
School of Cognitive and Computing Sciences
University of Sussex
Brighton BN1 9QH

phone +44-(0)1273-678844
fax   +44-(0)1273-671320

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