autoantonym

noun

au·​to·​an·​to·​nym ˌȯ-(ˌ)tō-ˈan-tə-ˌnim How to pronounce autoantonym (audio)
plural autoantonyms
: contronym
I loved "perspicacious" and "recondite" and "hortatory" and "cleave," the last of which meant the opposite of itself, both to join and to tear apart. "Impregnable" was an autoantonym, too. It was like a snake that ate its own tail.Joshua Henkin, New York Times, 25 Aug. 2013

Word History

First Known Use

1983, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of autoantonym was in 1983

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

Dictionary Entries Near autoantonym

Cite this Entry

“Autoantonym.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/autoantonym. Accessed 2 Mar. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!