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Subject: Relationship between Imply/Infer, Throw/Catch
Question: Hello!

Is there a term or name for the special relation each of these words
has to the other, i.e. imply/infer, throw/catch?

I always tell my students ''your verb is aimed in the wrong direction''
but if there is a good linguistic term for this, I'd like to know it.

Thanks so much.

Cheri Endean
Asst. Professor and Interim Director of the Writing Center
Kendall College of Art and Design
Grand Rapids, MI

Reply: Hi, Cheri,

Drs. Fischer & Sampson give good suggestions. Personally, I take
such cases to be a sort of antonymy. I should say that I consider
antonymy to be rather broader in its implications than most
linguists do, following the brilliant article by Ken Hale entitled
"A note on a Walbiri tradition of antonymy", in: Semantics : An
Interdisciplinary Reader in Philosophy, Linguistics and Psychology,
ed. by Steinberg, D. D. & Jakobovits, L. A. (Cambridge U. Press,

An example to illustrate: many speakers of American English use the
words 'borrow' and 'lend' with the "opposite" of their dictionary
meanings. This is, of course, similar to your examples, but may help
explain my 'take' on this question. Antonymy, of course, is in this
case just one aspect of the meanings of these verbs.


James L. Fidelholtz
Graduate Program in Language Sciences
Instituto de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades
Benem'erita Universidad Aut'onoma de Puebla, M'EXICO
Reply From: James L Fidelholtz      click here to access email
Date: 02-Mar-2013
Other Replies:
  1. Re: Relationship between Imply/Infer, Throw/Catch    Anthea Fraser Gupta     (05-Mar-2013)
  2. Re: Relationship between Imply/Infer, Throw/Catch    Nancy J. Frishberg     (06-Mar-2013)
  3. Re: Relationship between Imply/Infer, Throw/Catch    Susan D Fischer     (01-Mar-2013)
  4. Re: Relationship between Imply/Infer, Throw/Catch    Geoffrey Richard Sampson     (02-Mar-2013)

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