Leaving Left

My theme for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge is contronyms. A contronym is a word with two or more opposite meanings, making it its own antonym. Click here to find out more about these quirky words.
 
Lily with the letter LAfter yesterday's hiccup with having no contronyms for K, I was happy to have several to choose from for the letter L. I decided to go with left, but as I was poking around in several dictionaries, I realized that the present tense of left (leave) is also a contronym, even though only the past tense version is on any of the lists. I figured we might as well go for the twofer and feature both left and leave.
 
Left/Leave - to go out or away from; depart
 
~ or ~
 
Left/Leave - to remain; stay in the same position
 
Please don't leave me behind. I will be very sad.
Sweet puppy
 
Poor mama dogs have to watch their babies leave, never to be seen again.
Dog Family
 
Frank left in a huff at my refusal to cook dinner, but he left his wallet behind. I ordered pizza.
Empty Wallet
 
Diana is overwhelmed with emotion when she comes home after a long day to a surprise birthday party. She's touched by her friends' thoughtfulness, but she really wanted to soak in a hot bath and go to bed. The party rages for hours. Now, of all the revelers, only Trevor's left.
Birthday Party
 
So, does Diana need to call the cops on her own party to get all of her overzealous friends (except for Trevor who already went home) to leave? Or has everyone else gone home, leaving her to receive an unexpected birthday gift from Trevor? With a contronym involved, a simple story gets an ambiguous ending. 
 
Are you familiar with contronyms? There are other ā€˜Lā€™ contronyms out there, can you think of any? How Lovely is Lily with her letter L

 

Puppy image courtesy of stock.xchng

Dog family image courtesy of adzica

Wallet image courtesy of scottchan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Party image courtesy of foobean01

Comments

Natalie Aguirre's picture

Great choice for L. Loved the birthday theme since today is my daughter's 16th birthday.

Neelam Dadhwal's picture

Useful information on contronyms.

John Wiswell's picture

Huh. When did "left/leave" begin meaning to stay in the same position? Does your dictionary have a date for the earliest usage of that meaning?

Patricia Lynne's picture

That last one is nice. I had to read it twice to fully get it and it's brilliant.

Ruby Wilbur's picture

I really enjoy your blog and I nominated you for a Liebster award! Care to participate? Details here:

Ruby Wilbur

Lexa Cain's picture

It took me a while to get Diana's dilemma.  The contraction is the only way to know.  If it's "is," then Trevor remains; if it's "has," then Trevor left the party. Y eah, I'm a genius. lol

Ida Chiavaro's picture

I was sure there was going to be something about the direction left... far from genius.  I had to read it twice too :)

KayK's picture

I love that you took a picture of your dog with the letter L, so cute!  Following from Blogging A to Z.  I also added you G+ Circles and Twitter.

 
http://www.AMomsPointOfView.com 
Jocelyn Rish's picture

Natalie - Happy Birthday to your daughter!

Neelam - I'm having fun with them.

John - My dictionary didn't, but leave/left was another one with a whole bunch of definitions. They seem to be the ones most prone to being contronyms, I guess because with so many definitions, they are more likely to be opposites.

Patricia - Thanks. I'm trying my best to be clever with these. :-)

Ruby - Thank you, I really appreciate it!

Lexa - Yep! I knew there had to be a way to make it ambiguous, and the contraction was the solution. 

Ida - Yeah, left has a long list of definitions, but these were the two that were opposites, so I focused on them.

Kay - Thanks! Lily is actually my dad's dog, I'm rotating all five of the Rish family dogs all month. 

Sharon's picture

Interesting.  I wonder how others read it first time.  Initially, I took it that Trevor was the only one remaining but you have written it well as it could be either!

Sheethal's picture

It took me a while to get this. But Good post! :)

Margaret Almon's picture

Your contronymns are like doing the pantoums or sestinas of an A to Z challenge!  I am impressed.

Jessica's picture

I haven't heard of contronyms before stopping by your page for th challenge. What an intersting topic!

Clare Dugmore's picture

I've never heard of contronyms before, but now I am facinated by the concept, and will be looking more up. Thanks for teaching me something new. :D

Jocelyn Rish's picture

Sharon - It would be interesting to know if one meaning or the other was more prevalent when people first read.

Sheenthal - Thanks!

Margaret - Whew, I had to look up both those words. It's fun to learn new poetry terms!

Jessica - Thanks, I'm having fun with them!

Clare - You're welcome - they are fascinating words!

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