21 COMMON WORDS THAT YOU`VE GOT WRONG
  
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21 COMMON WORDS THAT YOU`VE GOT WRONG



Published On: July 22, 2014, by Neat Buzz, James Phillips, Nebraska
Tag: Meaning, English , Rating: 4.5

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21 COMMON WORDS THAT YOU`VE GOT WRONG  | NEATBUZZ.COM

Everybody talks a lot. Itís one of the most frequent things we as human beings do. We need it to communicate. People do it for entertainment. Just because we all do it all the time doesnít mean we have perfected the craft. Here are a bunch of common words everyone uses but most use incorrectly.



1

 

IRONY

 

What you think it means: Something that is funny.
What it really means: Contrary to what you are expecting.

This is a famous one because so many people get this wrong so often. Itís also kind of hard to explain, so weíll use an example. The Titanic was boasted about as being 100% unsinkable and then in 1912 it was sunk anyway. That is what is called cosmic irony. When a starving vegetarian eats a pepperoni pizza, that is what is called situational irony. There are other kinds too, such as dramatic irony and Socratic irony. Believe it or not, sarcasm is actually irony. When you say something sarcastically, your tone and your words mean two opposite things. That is ironic. Irony can be funny but not everything funny is irony.

21 COMMON WORDS THAT YOU`VE GOT WRONG
  

2

 

TRAVESTY

 

What you think it means: A tragedy or something unfortunate.
What it really means: A mockery or parody.

This is another one that people have wrong fairly frequently. Youíve heard people call 9/11 a travesty. Truth be told 9/11 was a tragedy. A travesty is actually a mockery or a parody. One might say that a Weird Al Yankovic album is a travesty. With how often this word is associated with tragedy, we wouldnít be shocked if that definition were eventually added as an acceptable meaning. Until then, it doesnít mean anything bad happened.

21 COMMON WORDS THAT YOU`VE GOT WRONG
  

3

 

ULTIMATE

 

What you think it means: The one, the only. The best.
What it really means: The last item of a list.

Some people do actually use this one properly. You may see someone list off a bunch of things and hear them say, ďOkay, at the store we need eggs, milk, juice, and ultimately, butter.Ē That is actually the proper use of ultimate. There is no other context or added context. It simply means the last one.

21 COMMON WORDS THAT YOU`VE GOT WRONG
  

4

 

CONVERSATE

 

What you think it means: To have a conversation.
What it really means: Nothing.

Conversate actually doesnít exist and Iíll prove it to you. Go into a program that underlines words with red if theyíre spelled wrong. Now type out conversate. Did you see the red line? Conversate was meant to be a mixture of conversation and converse and be used as a verb. However, converse is a verb and there really isnít a need for a second verb to describe the same action.

21 COMMON WORDS THAT YOU`VE GOT WRONG
  

5

 

PERUSE

 

What you think it means: To skim or browse.
What it really means: To observe in depth.

When you peruse something, you are actually taking a very close look at it. When youíre at a record store (remember those?) and youíre just running through a stack of records, you are just browsing. If you pick up a record and look at the artist, track list, and additional information on the back, then your are perusing.

21 COMMON WORDS THAT YOU`VE GOT WRONG
  

6

 

BEMUSED

 

What you think it means: Amused.
What it really means: Confused.

This is one of the many words on this list that will make you strongly dislike the English language. Despite looking all but identical to the word amused, bemused doesnít even come close to meaning the same thing. If you are bemused then you are actually confused.

21 COMMON WORDS THAT YOU`VE GOT WRONG
  

7

 

COMPELLED

 

What you think it means: To do something voluntarily by choice.
What it really means: To be forced or obligated to doing something.

This is one that people get wrong and itís rather understandable. The real definition is very close to the definition people generally use. The difference is the motivation. When people say compelled, they think the person wants to perform the action. In fact, they are forced to do it regardless of their personal feelings. Hereís an example. When youíre in court, you are compelled to give honest testimony. You may not want to, but it doesnít matter because you have to.

21 COMMON WORDS THAT YOU`VE GOT WRONG
  

8

 

NAUSEOUS

 

What you think it means: To feel ill.
What it really means: To cause feelings of illness.

This is another understandable mishap that a lot of people make. If you actually feel sick then you are nauseated. The object that made you feel ill is nauseous. Hereís how this works. If youíre at an amusement park and youíre sitting next to a full trash can, the fumes from the trash may make you feel ill. That means the fumes from the trash can are nauseous because they are making you feel nauseated.

21 COMMON WORDS THAT YOU`VE GOT WRONG
  

9

 

REDUNDANT

 

What you think it means: Repetitive.
What it really means: Unnecessarily excessive.

This one is tough because you can use it wrong but unintentionally use it right. When you repeat something a bunch of times, it can become redundant, but redundant expands far beyond just repeating things over and over. A popular thing companies are doing now is firing people but instead of calling it ďgetting fired,Ē they call it ďeliminating redundancies.Ē The premise being that the employee theyíre firing is unnecessary and excessive and they are thus eliminating them. In pretty much any scenario where there is simply too much of something, it is redundant.

21 COMMON WORDS THAT YOU`VE GOT WRONG
  

10

 

ENORMITY

 

What you think it means: Huge, enormous.
What it really means: Profoundly immoral or evil.

Donít beat yourself up over this one because no one knows this one off the top of their head. Enormity sounds like enormous and as with many of our other examples, here we expect words that sound alike to have similar meanings. Enormity simply means really evil. An example of how to use it is the following: ďThe enormity of the crimes committed by the Nazis in World War II.Ē It doesnít mean the enormous crimes, it means the heinous crimes.

21 COMMON WORDS THAT YOU`VE GOT WRONG
  

11

 

TERRIFIC

 

What you think it means: Fantastic, good.
What it really means: Horrific, to inspire fear.

This is another one that we expect will be changed in the dictionary eventually because barely anyone uses the real meaning anymore. When people say they feel terrific, they mean to say they feel fantastic. An example of something terrific is King Kong. You see a giant monster and it inspires fear. Weíre going to loop awesome in with this one too. Awesome simply means to inspire awe and people often use it to describe something really good.

21 COMMON WORDS THAT YOU`VE GOT WRONG
  

12

 

EFFECT

 

What you may think it means: To cause something to change.
What it really means: An event that causes a change.

A lot of people staunchly defend the wrong definition of this and itís understandable. When action A causes a change in object B, action A affected object B and object B has been affected. Effect is an event that causes a change. In our prior example, action A is, in and of itself, an effect because it affects things. Itís admittedly confusing to explain but easy to remember. If itís a noun, itís an effect. If itís a verb, itís an affect.

21 COMMON WORDS THAT YOU`VE GOT WRONG
  

13

 

DISINTERESTED

 

What you think it means: Bored.
What it really means: Neutral.

A good way to remember this one is that there is a word that means bored and itís uninterested. If youíre uninterested, youíre bored. Being disinterested is the long-form equivalent of stating that you donít care about something.

21 COMMON WORDS THAT YOU`VE GOT WRONG
  

14

 

IRREGARDLESS

 

What you think it means: Without regard.
What it really means: Nothing.

Like conversate above, irregardless isnít actually a word. When people say irregardless, they actually mean to say regardless. Regardless means without regard. Irregardless has been used so often that it actually is in the dictionary now and thatís kind of sad. Even though it is technically there, there are a large number of people who donít consider it a word. You can save yourself a couple of keystrokes and a tongue lashing by just using regardless.

21 COMMON WORDS THAT YOU`VE GOT WRONG
  
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15

 

CHRONIC

 

What you think it means: Severe.
What it really means: Over the course of a long time.

This is definitely one that people ought to know better. When you have severe pain, it is just severe pain. If you have chronic pain, you have been in pain for a long, long time. Chronic conditions and diseases are called chronic because they wonít go away and not because theyíre overly severe.

21 COMMON WORDS THAT YOU`VE GOT WRONG
  

16

 

I.E.

 

What you think it means: For example.
What it really means: In other words.

This is one among a number of shortened words that confuse people. Hereís a quick guide on how to use them. Et cetera is etc., example is ex. or e.g., and in other words is i.e. When you use i.e. youíre essentially putting it there to let people know that youíre going to be stating the same information in different words. Hereís how it really works. Itís June and I moved into my new apartment in April, i.e., two months ago.

21 COMMON WORDS THAT YOU`VE GOT WRONG
  
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17

 

DECIMATE

 

What you think it means: To destroy or annihilate
What it really means: To destroy ten percent.

This one is really goofy and one day this wonít be true. For the time being, decimate actually means removing only ten percent of something. If you know a little bit about words itís not difficult to figure out. The prefix ďdecĒ means ten. However, the traditional definition of this word is antiquated and itíll probably be changed eventually. Until then, itís technically correct to use a word like exterminate or annihilate instead.

21 COMMON WORDS THAT YOU`VE GOT WRONG
  

18

 

PANACEA

 

What you think it means: A cure.
What it really means: A cure for a lot of things.

This one is easy to confuse because the explanation is virtually the same even if the definitions are vastly different. A panacea is something that cures a lot of things all at once. For instance, penicillin is a panacea. It cures a bunch of diseases. The flu vaccine is not a panacea because it only protects against the flu.

21 COMMON WORDS THAT YOU`VE GOT WRONG
  

19

 

FORTUITOUS

 

What you think it means: Lucky.
What it really means: By chance.

There is a difference between luck and chance. Unfortunately, people use the two interchangeably, so much so that itís difficult to explain the differences anymore. Lucky is an event that happens by chance that can be described as fortunate. Winning the lottery is lucky. Fortuitous means simply by chance. For instance if you drop your basketball and it bounces into the road and gets hit by a car, thatís a fortuitous instance. Itís neutral, so it can be good or bad things that happen by chance.

21 COMMON WORDS THAT YOU`VE GOT WRONG
  

20

 

PLETHORA

 

What you think it means: A lot of something.
What it really means: More than is needed.

This is one I use incorrectly all the time. In fact, I almost used it a couple of times in this very article. Plethora simply means that there is more of something than is needed. For instance, you may think that 5,000 people is a plethora of people. However, when you put them into a hockey arena that seats 13,000 people, itís actually less than half capacity and therefore not a plethora. If you had 13,500 people in that same arena, that would be a plethora of people.

21 COMMON WORDS THAT YOU`VE GOT WRONG
  

21

 

LITERALLY

 

What you think it means: Figuratively.
What it really means: Actually.

This is something that has come about relatively recently and my generation may have helped propagate this one. Literally means actually. When something is literally true, it is actually true. If I havenít seen my friend in literally five years then I actually havenít seen them in five years. People use literally along with hyperbole to show an emotion: ďI havenít had Chinese food in literally a million years.Ē This is meant to denote that the person hasnít had Chinese food in a while. The word those people actually want is figuratively. They figuratively havenít had Chinese food in a million years. They probably literally hadnít had it in a few days or weeks.

21 COMMON WORDS THAT YOU`VE GOT WRONG
  


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