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From: Jean Bezivin (
Date: Tue 10 Sep 2002 - 07:26:55 BST

::"Denote" is one of those rare and wonderful words that has two meanings
::that pretty much directly contradict each other.
:: -- Steve

Right Steve,

and this shows that sometimes we should be careful about
using natural language and  implicit assumptions about
the meaning of words.

Note however that "denote" does not pertain to the classical list
of antagonyms (the same word with two opposite meanings)

But there is another antagonym which is not cited in this
list and that is as dangerous: "model"

The classical meaning of model is conveyed by:

"a MODEL is a (simplified) image of a system"

or in a more formal expression:
isA (m, Model)
isA (s, System)
imageOf (m,s)

Unfortunately, the meaning of "model" is completely opposite
in the following sentence:
"Claudia Shiffer is a model for this young girl"
as a matter of fact Claudia should be the system
and the youg girl an image of Claudia. Unfortunately
everybody knows that Claudia is a model.

We have in the french language a similar situation with the word "hote"
meaning at the same time "host" and "guest", a very unfortunate situation.
("Host" and "Guest" are antonyms in english and "Hote" is antagonism in
As a result, in the context of computer networks for example, the english
word "host" is generally used to avoid all confusions.

Unfortunately with "denote" or "model" there is no way to avoid using these
words, so caution is required.

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