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#1 2019-02-14 10:14:50

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-11
Posts: 2258
Website

Positive/negative words for permitting, requiring or forbidding

Prescribe and proscribe don’t seem to have been discussed here, though it was noted that they are in Paul Brians’ list. They are fairly often mixed up, though the fact that their meanings are opposites probably helps people be careful to avoid confusing them. ( Prescribe of course means ‘require’, and proscribe means ‘forbid’.)
.
The double meaning of sanction got mentioned in a post or two: sometimes it means ‘license, allow, give permission for’, and sometimes it means ‘forbid (=proscribe), prescribe penalties for’, and sanctions generally are penalties rather than permissions, which is why sanctions are typically imposed rather than granted.
.

It had been knocking around in my head that there was another word that behaves similarly, and I’m pretty sure it was enjoin , which is defined like this (in an online dictionary that didn’t give a url):
.
[1] instruct or urge (someone) to do something.
. “the code enjoined members to trade fairly”
. synonyms: urge, encourage, try to persuade, adjure, admonish, press, prompt, prod, goad, egg on, spur, push, pressure, put pressure on, use pressure on, pressurize, lean on; […]
. “the Code enjoined members to trade fairly and responsibly”
.
[2] prescribe (an action or attitude) to be performed or adopted.
. “the charitable deeds enjoined on him by religion”
.
[3] Law
. prohibit someone from performing (a particular action) by issuing an injunction.
. synonyms: prohibit, ban, bar, prevent, inhibit, interdict.
. forbid to; restrain
. “the company was enjoined from making any further assertions”
. antonyms: compel
.

How bizarre that a language should thus repeatedly use the same word, or such easily mistakeable words, for opposite meanings, and all in this semantic area of permitting, requiring and forbidding.
.
(Do other languages do this? I don’t have examples coming to mind in Spanish or Nawatl, the only two other languages I know well enough to say much about.)


*If the human mind were simple enough for us to understand,
we would be too simple-minded to understand it* .

(Possible Corollary: it is, and we are .)

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#2 2019-02-14 20:53:13

yanogator
Eggcornista
From: Ohio
Registered: 2007-06-07
Posts: 203

Re: Positive/negative words for permitting, requiring or forbidding

and don’t forget “cleave”, meaning both cling and divide.

I think that 40 years ago, “sanction” only had the positive meaning, because I am still confused about how it came to mean the opposite.


“I always wanted to be somebody. I should have been more specific.” – Lily Tomlin

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#3 2019-02-15 02:49:02

JuanTwoThree
Eggcornista
From: Spain
Registered: 2009-08-15
Posts: 438

Re: Positive/negative words for permitting, requiring or forbidding

There’s the let of ‘without let or hindrance’:

Let in its Middle English sense of ‘something that impedes’ is now archaic and rarely occurs outside this phrase, in which it duplicates the sense of hindrance . It is, however, used in sports such as badminton and tennis.

I think I once heard something in English law about saying the same thing twice, once in Anglo-Saxon and once in Norman English. That doesn’t work for ‘null and void’ though. Or ‘cease and desist’ . It’s probably stuff and nonsense.


On the plain in Spain where it mainly rains.

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#4 2019-02-15 09:23:31

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-11
Posts: 2258
Website

Re: Positive/negative words for permitting, requiring or forbidding

Yes. “Let” is another in the area of hindrance and permission.


*If the human mind were simple enough for us to understand,
we would be too simple-minded to understand it* .

(Possible Corollary: it is, and we are .)

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#5 2019-02-16 03:18:25

JuanTwoThree
Eggcornista
From: Spain
Registered: 2009-08-15
Posts: 438

Re: Positive/negative words for permitting, requiring or forbidding

I wasn’t far wrong:

“A legal doublet is a standardized phrase used frequently in English legal language consisting of two or more words that are near synonyms. The origin of the doubling—and sometimes even tripling—often lies in the transition from use of one language for legal purposes to use of another for the same purposes, as from a Germanic ([Anglo-]Saxon or Old English) term to a Romance (Latin or Law French) term or, within the Romance subfamily, from a Latin term to a Law French term. To ensure understanding, words of Germanic origin were often paired with words having equivalent or near-equivalent meanings in Latin (reflecting the interactions between Germanic and Roman law following the decline of the Roman Empire) or, later, Law French (reflecting the influence of the Norman Conquest), and words of Latin origin were often paired with their Law French cognates or outright descendants. Such phrases can often be pleonasms and Siamese twins. In other cases, the two components did not arise through such synonym annotation but rather referred to two differentiable ideas whose differentiation is subtle, appreciable only to lawyers, long since obsolete, or a combination of those. For example, ways and means, referring to methods and resources respectively, are differentiable, in the same way that tools and materials, or equipment and funds, are differentiable—but the difference between them is often practically irrelevant to the contexts in which the Siamese twin ways and means is used today in non-legal contexts as a mere cliché where one word would do (for example, “methods”), and because each of the words can practically mean “methods”, the second can seem redundant in the clichéd, non-legal instances.”

From Wikipedia:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_doublet

The list of these legal doublets on Wikipedia looks like a hunting ground for eggcorns


On the plain in Spain where it mainly rains.

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#6 2019-03-03 14:05:18

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2671

Re: Positive/negative words for permitting, requiring or forbidding

David, the Wikipedia article on contronyms gives some non-English examples.


Hatching new language, one eggcorn at a time.

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