By Kate E. Stephenson
Overlook (v.): 1. to fail to notice, perceive, or consider: to overlook a misspelled word. 2. to disregard or ignore indulgently, as faults or misconduct: Only a parent could overlook that kind of behavior. 3. to look over, as from a higher position: a balcony that overlooks the ballroom. 4. to afford a view over; look down or out upon: a hill overlooking the sea.
the Clue this November 28, 2012 on Dictionary.com is “Do you know this contradictory word? This word means both ‘to look over’ and ‘to fail to notice’”. Today’s lexiboost rather spoils the challenge but it made me think. So much in life is utterly contradictory. In the English language one word can have many connotations including exact opposite meaning—“bad” is both horrible and very good depending upon the context. While grammar has always come easily to me, I personally grapple with the more complex contradictions. Human nature for instance boggles my mind.
Both kindness and cruelty are hardwired in humans. It has even been posited that selflessness is actually a product of evolution and isn’t selfless at all. Humanity covers every kind, the good, the bad, and the ugly, more often in odd proportions so that you really never know what you’re going to get. With a 99.5% genetic similarity between any one person and the next it’s amazing how much of a difference that 0.5% makes. It’s the difference between Jeffery Dahmer and Mother Theresa. You figure it out!
Kate E. Stephenson is a freelance communications specialist whose business encompasses writing, editing and resume services. Lexicon is her brainchild, a blog all about Language! Insight into today’s job market and hiring tips, book releases and reviews, and general folly concerning the many mysterious facets of the English language, Lexicon is all about how we talk, write and communicate—even non-verbally. Be sure to read more about Kate, check out a full listing of services and rates, and enjoy the weekly updates her on Lexicon!