Dennis Baron debaron at UIUC.EDU
Thu Jul 29 15:20:48 UTC 2004

Thaw/unthaw is just one of several words that mean their own opposites
(sounds like a talk show topic, like planets that eat their own moons.
Tomorrow, on Oprah, words that mean their own opposites).

These are common enough -- altho there is no technical term for them:

ravel/unravel (knitting up the raveled sleeve of care)
literally/figuratively (she was literally climbing the walls--literally
is seldom used literally, whereas figuratively is always used
literally; go figure)
and of course cleave (which means both cling to and separate, though it
is really two different words that have become identical)

Dennis (that's me, and so far as I know that's all it means, tho
sometimes it means Dennis Preston)

Dennis Baron                                                office: 217-244-0568
Professor of English and Linguistics              mobile: 217-840-0776
Department of English                                           fax: 217-333-4321
University of Illinois             https://netfiles.uiuc.edu/debaron/www
608 S. Wright St.
Urbana, IL 61801
debaron at uiuc.edu

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