Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Words That Could Make You Look Dumb

    At least half the words on this list are there because I discovered they didn't mean what I thought they did, and came close to embarrassing myself by using them the wrong way.

    At times like these I’m grateful I’m a poor speller and have to look up many infrequently used words. 

The incorrect usage of many of these words is becoming so common, I won’t be surprised if they become standard by the time my grandchildren are in school. In fact, many of these non-traditional definitions are included in some dictionaries as secondary meanings.

    You’re not alone if you think peruse sounds more like it means to skim or scan rather than to read thoroughly and with attention to detail.
    Bemused is often used as a synonym for amused. The correct definitions are “perplexed, bewildered or confused” or “absorbed in thought.”
    If you are nonplussed, you are bewildered, at a loss for words and unsure how to react – not indifferent or unimpressed.
    When something is limpid it is transparent, clear or easily understood – not lacking in structure, as in hanging limply.
    Disinterested does not mean the same thing as uninterested, it means impartial or unbiased.
    Lackadaisical is not an exact replacement for lazy, and should be used when one wishes to connote a lack of vigor or purpose.
    Be careful when using epicenter instead of center. While it can be used to denote the focal point of events or trends, it shouldn’t ever be used as a fancier way to say center. You wouldn’t say the church is in the epicenter of the town, or that Kansas is in the epicenter of the USA.
    Many people use verbage or verbiage in place of wording or phraseology.  Verbage is a variation of verbiage and means superfluous writing or speech.
    Unless you are talking about letting out a rope or line when sailing, the past tense of pay is paid.
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