a word that is its own antonym

Word of the Day for Wednesday, December 14, 2011

cleave \kleev\, verb:

1. To adhere closely; stick; cling.
2. To remain faithful.
3. To split or divide by or as if by a cutting blow, especially along a natural line of division, as the grain of wood.
5. To penetrate or pass through (air, water, etc.).
6. To cut off; sever.

Cleave is actually related to two separate but similar Old English words. Cleofan meant “to split,” while clifian meant “to adhere.” Today the same word carries both meanings.


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