14 words about words

You probably recognize the terms palindrome and diacritic, but do you know what a collocation is? How about an ambigram?

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Lately I’ve been interested in learning about rhetorical devices and the words used to describe them. Here are 14 examples that will make you say, “There’s a word for that?”

1. Ambigram—a word that can be turned upside down and still be read as the same word.

Example: MOW or NOON

2. Antimetabole—a word or a phrase that is repeated in the opposite order in the next clause or phrase.

Example: “Fair is foul, and foul is fair.

3. Collocation—a familiar grouping of words, especially words that typically appear together and convey meaning by association. To group the words differently would seem wrong.

Example: black and white

4. Contranym—is a word that can mean the opposite of itself.

Example: oversight can mean an error caused by inattention, or it can mean supervision.

5. Diacritic—is a symbol added to a letter to change the pronunciation. Most diacritics used in modern English come from other languages.

Examples: café, cliché, mañana

6. Diminutive—a suffix added to a word to mean little, small, or young.

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