Posted by: episystechpubs | January 13, 2016

Editor’s Corner: Janus Words

Today’s grammar tidbit is from Mignon Fogarty (Grammar Girl). It’s from her book The Grammar Devotional, and I thought it seemed fitting for a January day.

Janus Words
Alert: Roman gods are fiddling with our language! Actually, they’re not, but a word that has two opposing meanings is called a Janus word, named after the two-face Roman god, Janus. For example, sanction is a Janus word because it can mean “to approve” or “to condemn,” “a reward” or “a punishment.”

The protest was actually a state-sanctioned event.

Imposing sanctions on countries has had mixed results.

Other Janus words include cleave (“to cling to” or “to separate”), screen (“to review, show” or “to display, hide, or shield from view”), and trim (“to remove things” or “to add things”).

For more on Janus and January, see this Dictionary.com blog: Janus.

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

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Symitar Documentation Services

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