Contronyms – Lesson 5

What are contronyms? They are words or phrases that can have two completely opposite meanings. It’s just one word, but it has two contradictory meanings. In this series of 10 lessons, we will take a look at some common contronyms. In this lesson we will take a look at contronyms starting with the letters L through to M.


a) Left can mean to have departed or gone away from someone or something.

Example: He left the building 10 minutes ago.

b) Left can also mean remained.

Example: I was the only guy left at the party.


a) Mean can be not generous and not willing to share things, especially money.

Example: My son is so mean to his sister. He will never let her play with his toys.

b) Mean can also be excellent.

Example: That was a mean performance by my football team.

c) Mean can also be average.

Example: The mean age of the group was 32 years old.


a) A model can be something that is extremely good.

Example: The educational system was a model for other countries.

b) A model can be something that represents or copies another thing.

Example: By looking at this model you can get a better understanding of how the building will look.