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  5. Contronyms in Arabic ;D


Contronyms in Arabic ;D

Contronyms are basically words that have two meanings that are opposites. For example in English you have “dust” meaning to brush away from something (like a table) and “dust” meaning to add something (e.g. I dusted the cake with sugar, before gobbling it all down at once ;p)

Ps: Some people use a different terminology such as auto-antonym, contranym and Janus words.

Arabic words have a wide range of meanings, to the extent that sometimes the same words can carry opposite meanings.

For example:

Rajaa’ [رجاء] can be used in terms of hope and fear.

Bayna [بين] can be used in terms of connection and separation.

Waraa’ [وراء] can mean “ahead of” or “behind”

QasaTa [قسط] can be used in terms of injustice and justice

But obviously, Arabic isn’t the only language to have many contronyms, do any better ones [in a language other than your first] come to mind? :)

October 26, 2019



In Spanish “nada” can mean nothing or he/she/you swim.

So to answer your question “nada” comes to my mind. LOL (you guys will hopefully get what I just did?)


OHHHHhhhh I get it [after re-reading this 10 times lol] Nice one Andres :P


Gracias, Todavía has estado aprendiendo español?


I'm practicing my lessons cus I've forgotten everything XP


That's a nice topic! I didn't know that terminology (contronyms), as in my native language it's not common at all, if not nonexistent.

What came to my mind: I'm learning French and I realised (maybe I'm wrong; if so, please, someone tell me) that "personne" can both means "person" and "no one", the latter being if the sentence is negative.


Thanks a lot. Indeed this is quiet helpful to know that in Arabic there are many of these words. Actually I never paid attention to it in my mother tongue. I only push my language partners with giving them the different meanings of one word or they shall try to give them to me. And this is already for them very hard because here we have far too many of those words.


This is wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing!

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