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tedibear's avatar

Are there any word that you forget the meaning of no matter how many times you look up their meaning?

Asked by tedibear (19213points) September 24th, 2013

I have a hard time remembering the definitions of esoteric, sublime and metaphysics. As well, when people use “meta” as a prefix, I often don’t know what meaning they are trying to convey.

How about you? Any word meanings that escape your brain when you haven’t encountered the word in a while?

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24 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

Subjugate. Maybe after answering this Q it will stick with me.

There are others, I just can’t think of any more right now.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Um, I’ve forgotten the words that I’ve forgotten the meaning of. One word I will never forget the meaning of is ‘forget,’ as long as I remember not to forget it. :)

But yeah…I’ll start to want to use a word then have to catch myself, not being sure if it really applies, then go look it up. And your words were good examples of some.

tedibear's avatar

Yikes! I just noticed a typo in my question. It should say “words” and not “word.” Yeesh.

drhat77's avatar

I always get synecdoche and metonymy confused. I could go straighten them out again, but I will forget as soon as I look away.

zander101's avatar

Plenty, this won’t apply to everyone but one of the reasons why it happens has something to do with possibly the environment that one is engaged in, in a consistent basis. If the word in question isn’t used enough times for it to submerge itself in the subconscious, I feel the meaning will elude the person, then it’s forgotten.

graynett's avatar

hyperheaddonian I think it means some one who gets abnormal pleasure out of everyday things

janbb's avatar

I suually remember the meanings of a word once I have learned it but often not the spelling of certain words.

mattbrowne's avatar


ucme's avatar


janbb's avatar

Edit: usually

CWOTUS's avatar

I just learned that the word “gullible” does not appear in any dictionary!

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

Yes. Mostly words that sound alike but have different meanings.

- Continuous and continual
– Compliment and complement
– Might and may
– The various tenses of lay, lie, laid, lain

Every time I write one of these words, I look it up. I just want to make sure that I’m using it properly.

dxs's avatar

Abscond. It sounds fancy every time I hear it, so I look it up and then always completely forget what it means. Probably because it doesn’t belong in my vocabulary.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

@CWOTUS Good one! Next, will you tell us that your favorite novel is “Gullible’s Travels”?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Cynical. I always think of it and use it as “skeptical”. It doesn’t mean anything close to skeptical. But I regularly confuse the two even though I know the difference between them.

Jeruba's avatar

Yes. One of them is chthonic and another is eschatological.

I’m serious.

talljasperman's avatar

Their and there.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@talljasperman When referring to people and their belongings, you are referring to people. YOU are a person. When referring to yourself, you say ‘I’. Therefore, referring to other people’s belongings, people who refer to themselves as ‘I’, you are referring to “theIr” belongings.

‘There” is a place. It’s either “here” or it’s “there.’

augustlan's avatar

Not usually, but I often have a hard time explaining what a word means to someone else. I think it’s because I’ve usually figured it out based on context, never having seen the actual definition myself. And then there’s that whole problem with mispronouncing words you’ve never heard spoken aloud. Happens to me all the time.

tedibear's avatar

I thought of another one. I can’t remember the difference between cataracts and glaucoma. I look them up and poof! they’re gone again.

Dutchess_III's avatar

For some reason that struck me as really funny @tedibear!

dxs's avatar

@talljasperman their they’re there…nothing to worry about.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar


A skeptic is worthy of admiration – someone who questions and analyzes.

A cynic goes through life begging for an @$$kicking.

talljasperman's avatar

Cerebellum and cerebrum.

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