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Jun. 6th, 2009 03:19 pm "That just doesn't sound right..."

If there isn't yet, I think there should be a name for words that sound to one like they should mean the exact opposite of whatever they mean. The example that immediately comes to mind is "natty," as applied to couture -- perhaps by comparison to similar-sounding words (e.g. nasty, ratty, etc) it has always sounded to me like it should mean shabby and unkempt, not "smart and fashionable" (incedentally, natty likely comes from the same root as the word "neat," as well as "net" in the sense of "remaining after decuctions").

What words do you think poorly fit their definition?

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Date:June 6th, 2009 10:40 pm (UTC)
Natty can also mean "native" when referring to dreadlocks, says wikipedia.
Date:June 7th, 2009 12:41 am (UTC)
I always felt "benign" should mean something like "crazy". It just has sort of a crazy sound to it, for having such a boring meaning.
Date:June 7th, 2009 02:29 am (UTC)
To me, "colloquial" seems like it should mean the opposite of what it actually means.
Date:June 7th, 2009 02:29 am (UTC)
I've always thought "victuals" looked and sounded quite unappetizing. It looks too much like "viscera" or "micturate", and its pronunciation ("vittles"), in addition to not properly matching the spelling, is known to me primarily as part of a brand name of cat food. Yeeeuuuck!
Date:June 7th, 2009 03:03 am (UTC)
"Crony" doesn't sound very friendly, and "pulchritude" does not seem beautiful at all. And between "comely" and "homely", well, one of them has to be wrong.
Date:June 8th, 2009 07:04 am (UTC)
I have a friend who always uses "homely" in place of "homey." It cracks me up every time. I've tried correcting him, but he forgets and I just think it's really endearing and cute now. He'll walk into a room and say "it's really homely in here." :p
Date:June 8th, 2009 07:07 am (UTC)
Hah, before I read the third sentence, I assumed you meant "homey" as in "short for homeboy..."

"Yeah, jus' hangin' wit my homelies..."
Date:June 8th, 2009 05:45 pm (UTC)
Date:June 7th, 2009 03:31 am (UTC)
Wow, I thought I was the only one having that thought. :p I always have a "wait, what?" moment about the word "natty" before I remember its meaning.

And from reading through the comments:

The first time I ran into the word "benign," I was pretty young and it was describing a tumor. I would have sworn it meant the opposite of what it means.

"Crony" makes me think of "crone" and "crow," not "friend."
Date:June 7th, 2009 05:18 am (UTC)
Date:June 7th, 2009 05:06 pm (UTC)
"Nonplussed" (from Cracked's article, "9 Words that Don't Mean What You Think").

Also, "hoi polloi", which sounds as though it ought to mean "elite" or "intelligentsia".
Date:June 7th, 2009 05:17 pm (UTC)
Pulchritude came to mind for me too, and then one of this year's spelling bee words, geusioleptic. I don't think the word "geusioleptic" sounds like something I would want to eat, even though it apparently means "flavorful food".
Date:June 7th, 2009 06:41 pm (UTC)
The word "enervate" seems to intend the opposite of what it means, but the definition is actually "to weaken the strength or vitality of."
Date:June 11th, 2009 04:19 am (UTC)
"Raze" comes to mind for me, mostly because of its homophone "raise."