"euphemism" = metaphor or figure of speech

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Mar 23 15:26:01 UTC 2005

At 1:34 AM -0500 3/23/05, Benjamin Zimmer wrote:
>On Wed, 23 Mar 2005 00:21:43 -0500, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
>>>?Last night, I heard what seems like a similar shift for "oxymoron" where
>>>someone used it to mean anytonym. The word was "tiny" referring to a person
>>>who is large. BB
>>Well, I'm not sure that would count as an antonym anymore than an
>>oxymoron.  "Tiny giant" would  be an oxymoron, while "tiny" and
>>"huge" would plausibly be antonyms.  But calling a giant "tiny" (or a
>>silent person "Gabby", and similar cases) don't really fit either of
>>these categories--what we have here is a...sarconym?
>A "flesh name"?  According to Wiktionary (yikes), "sarconym" is a term for
>the meat of a particular animal (beef, mutton, venison, pork).  But they
>label this a "protologism", their term for "a word which has only recently
>been devised": <http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Sarconym>.

I hereby retract that suggestion, which was faute de mieux at best,
especially now that we have the mieux.

>>(I'd suggest "ironym", but I've already nominated that for "Welsh
>>rabbit", "Jewish penicillin", and similar examples.)
>Likewise, "contronym" is already taken, as it's Richard Lederer's
>designation for a word that's its own antonym (aka "Janus word",
>"antagonym", "autoantonym", etc.).

also "antilogy" (cf. the Linguist List archive on "Words that are
their own opposites", a.k.a. "The longest thread"), as well as
"enantionym", proposed on this list by Lynne Murphy and me.*

>I'd stick with good old "antiphrasis", even if it doesn't have a catchy
>"-nym" form (antiphrastonym?).
Indeed.  I should have known the Greeks would have a word for it.


*Now that I review my files (reproduced below), I see that Lynne and
I settled worked out that designation in a semi-offline exchange,
which is why it doesn't show up on google.  So I hereby repropose it,
for the "cleave", "sanction" type of case.  Note the date of this
exchange--you'd think there were other things that might have on our
mind at the time...

From: Lynne Murphy <lynnem at COGS.SUSX.AC.UK>
Subject:      Re: enantiosemy

--On Tuesday, September 11, 2001 10:01 pm +0800 Laurence Horn wrote:

...and antilogies, my favorite.  (Sorry, nothing to offer on "enantiosemy".)

Yes, I've got that one noted as well--although I have no idea why it
would be anyone's favorite!

Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2001 09:49:13 +0800
To: Lynne Murphy <lynnem at COGS.SUSX.AC.UK>
From: Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>
Subject: Fwd: Re: enantiosemy


...Why NOT "antilogy"?  There's "anti-", and there's Xlogy, a
standard stem for words with an X character; compare "tautology"
(lit. 'same word'), "haplology", etc.  Of course -nym is even more
standard in this use, but "antinym" clearly won't do.  I would
actually vote for "enantionymy" and "enantionym", if that's a
possible choice, but you have to admit "anti-" is a more recognized
prefix, although "enantio-" more clearly denotes (or "should" denote)
oppositeness, as opposed to againstness.


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