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One that *is* the language's fault is the word "sanction." It means both punishment and authorization/approval. A country can impose economic sanctions (the bad kind) against another country, but an organization can "sanction" (the good kind) events -- as in, "the New York State Tiddlywinks Tournament is a World Tiddlywinks Association-sanctioned competition."
I love words that can hold contradictory meaning. I think they're one of the delights of English as a language. They're 'contranyms' or 'antagonyms' or 'autoantonyms' - I also love a language that has so many odd words to describe its own quirks! There are probably loads of them, but a few I can think of offhand:cleave
: to separate - or to cling to something.weather
: to get through or withstand something ('weather the storm') - or be worn away bolt
: make secure - or flee (possibly screaming...)refrain
: to hold back from doing something, not to do it - or repeat (as in the refrain to a song, the chorus)fast
: quick, rapid - or stuck, stable ('held fast')trim
: cut away excess - or decorate
A probable explanation is that although on the surface we've ended up with one word that apparently has contradictory meanings, what we have here are two words from different roots which have ended up being spelt in the same way. Etymology dictionaries are wondrous things when you get into word usage!