15 June, 2011
On paper, RURAL and URBAN are remarkable opposites. Not just the same length, but their opening pair is a reversal of the other, which makes them far more than antonyms – but switchonyms.
Other pairs exist of course – OCCASIONAL and CONSTANT, LAX and ALERT, IMPOTENT and MIGHTY, REAL and ERSATZ. You might even argue that NAIVE and ANCIENT pass muster, or NIFTY and INANE. As that’s the Switchonym Challenge – to find precise opposites that obey the reversal rule, as well as match in length.
ESCHEW and SELECT is a cosy duet, heeding the switch rule, and both owning six letters, with E as their only vowel. Lovely. Any more? The cosier the better. And a MIGHTY cheer to the Dabbler who can find any switchonyms where a triple opening is reversed: PERSECUTE and REPRESENT? TACTFUL and CATTISH? I’ll turn the Switchonym Challenge your way…