I’m not a fan of the #NoEstimates hashtag on Twitter. It turns out, after many blog posts and tweets, that #NoEstimates is a Contranym – a word that can function as its own opposite. #NoEstimates can mean no estimate or yes estimate – it is up to you. Sigh.
Here is how that goes, using the words of the various participants …
Woody Zuill (@WoodyZuill, 11 March 2015):
That is the #NoEstimates idea as I use it: “Let’s use estimates only when appropriate.”
Peter Kretzman (@PeterKretzman, 8 April 2015):
“At first blush, ‘no’ doesn’t seem to be the kind of word whose meaning you can monkey with.” #NoEstimates #NoTotally
Kathryn Schulz in her post What Part of “No, Totally” Don’t You Understand?:
“No, totally.” “No, definitely.” “No, exactly.” “No, yes.” These curious uses turn “no” into a kind of contranym: a word that can function as its own opposite.
Glen B. Alleman (@galleman, 08 April 2015):
When No Means Yes, we’re now in the #NoEstimates rabbit hole
Like I said, I’m not a fan of the #NoEstimates hashtag. Really the intention is, I believe, #LessEstimates. But that would have had less mass appeal despite the clarity. So we’re stuck with a contranym.
Schulz, K. (2015, 7 April). What Part of “No, Totally” Don’t You Understand?. New Yorker.