The other day I checked some work for my colleague and.  He said “Thanks for the oversight.

Oversight.  It struck me as odd, so I looked it up in the dictionary.  I love looking words up, even if they are words I think I know.  The more clues about usage, history, etymology I can learn, the better.

Here is the definition given at


1.        an omission or error due to carelessness:
My bank statement is full of oversights.

2.        unintentional failure to notice or consider; lack of proper attention:
Owing to my oversight, the letter was sent unsigned.

3.        supervision; watchful care:
a person responsible for the oversight of the organization.

How rude that he could accuse me of lack of proper attention!  We shared a laugh about that.

Oversight can mean a lack of proper attention, or watchful care.  Literally opposite meanings.  And as of 2013, literally literally means literally, except for when it means not literally:


1.        In a literal manner or sense; exactly:
‘the driver took it literally when asked to go straight over the roundabout’

1.1     informal Used for emphasis while not being literally true:
‘I have received literally thousands of letters’

Oxford Dictionaries


Words which mean their opposites are called contronyms (or contanyms, or auto-antonyms, or autantonyms, or antagonyms)?  If you give up, check out these lists on Mental Floss and Daily Writing Tips:

25 Words That Are Their Own Opposites

75 Contronyms (Words with Contradictory Meanings)


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