Social Question

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Recently, what word have you heard misused?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (33189points) September 22nd, 2010

The other day I heard someone use “dissemble,” which means to evade, in place of disassemble. It made me giggle.

What word have you heard used incorrectly that may have made you giggle or grimace?

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49 Answers

poisonedantidote's avatar

I seem to see affect and effect misused a lot. also, my brother who’s english is not to good (born in spain) has the habit of saying “wasting petrol” instead of “using petrol” because in spanish they say “gastar gasolina” instead of “usar gasolina”. so he takes the word gastar and translates it to waste.

Scooby's avatar

The Most Functional English Word :-/

Well, it’s shit…that’s right, shit!
Shit may just be the most functional
word in the English language.

You can get shit-faced,
Be shit out of luck,
or have shit for brains.
With a little effort,
you can get your shit together,
Find a place for your shit, Or
be asked to shit or get off the pot.
You can smoke shit,
buy shit,
sell shit,
lose shit,
find shit,
forget shit,
and tell others to eat shit.
Some people know their shit, while
others can’t tell the difference
between Shit and Shinola.
There are lucky shits,
dumb shits,
crazy shits,
There is bull shit,
horse shit and
chicken shit.
You can throw shit,
sling shit,
catch shit,
shoot the shit,
or duck when the shit hits the fan.
You can give a shit or
serve shit on a shingle.
You can find yourself in deep shit
or be happier than a pig in shit.
Some days are colder than shit,
some days are hotter than shit,
and some days are just plain shitty.
Some music sounds like shit,
things can look like shit,
and there are times when you feel like shit.
You can have too much shit,
not enough shit,
the right shit,
the wrong shit or
a lot of weird shit.
You can carry shit,
have a mountain of shit, or find
yourself up shits creek without a paddle.
Sometimes everything you touch turns to shit and other times you
fall in a bucket of shit and come out smelling like a rose.
When you stop to consider all the facts,
it’s the basic building block of the English language.
And remember, once you know your shit,
you don’t need to know anything else!

Now that’s a lot of SHIT! :-/

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Aneurysm. You can’t catch one from the VCR…

Randy's avatar

I used your in place of you’re in an answer earlier. By the time I realized it, it was too late.

DominicX's avatar

“Ironic”. It’s misused all the time. I just heard my friend misuse it today. “How ironic!” when he really meant “what a coincidence!”.

BoBo1946's avatar

accept and except.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@BoBo1946 I get those confused all the time. I’ve never been able to wrap my head around the difference.

@DominicX The Best Ironic Comic Ever

BoBo1946's avatar

@papayalily this could help.

Accept means “to receive.”

Except is usually a preposition meaning “but” or “leaving out.” However, except can also be a verb meaning “to leave out.”

As verbs, accept and except are nearly antonyms, so the difference is important!

Examples: He accepted the gift. (He received it.)
He excepted the twins. (He did not include them.)

Everyone except Bill. (All but Bill.)

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@BoBo1946 Crap, you know what? I meant affect/effect. I really have to go to bed now…

But that was an awesome explanation, anyway, so GA.

BoBo1946's avatar

oh, I’ve problems with those also. Sleep tight.

iammia's avatar

I am probably guilty off all of the above regularly, my grammar sucks big TIME!

Their, they’re and there are my biggest crime :)

MacBean's avatar

There’s a Dodge minivan commercial that’s been giving me linguistics rage lately. They claim their minivan “literally gave birth to all other minivans.”

partyparty's avatar

“Would you borrow me your” ..... instead of “Would you lend me your”......

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Compliment and complement.
i.e. and e.g.

JilltheTooth's avatar

“Should have went” and “Nucular” always make my teeth itch.

ChocolateReigns's avatar

I go nuts when people say “she could care less” when they mean “she couldn’t care less”. It really does get on my nerves.

AmWiser's avatar

I saw this one and chuckled “when do you know that a girl is too young for you?—when you have to make the air plain sound to get your….in her mouth” Then it dawned on me, they meant airplane sound.
(I know…the question is what word have you heard…)

delirium's avatar

This guy was talking to me and trying to impress me and said in response to something I said about determination “Yeah, it’s really easy to get asphyxiated on something like that.”
He meant fixated. I could barely keep from snickering.

partyparty's avatar

A friend of mine once said “I’m absolutely ravishing instead of ravenous.
I just fell on the floor in floods of laughter. Fortunately she is a very good friend, and understood my outburst when I explained to her what she had just said to me LOLL

delirium's avatar

A friend once told me that se had a horse fetish, thinking that the word just meant that she really liked them. We were driving and I had to pull off the road until I stopped laughing.

nailpolishfanatic's avatar

Ebony GAGA – my new name from my friends. also cause I love Lady Gaga <3
Mushroom girl – because of my afro, the’ve started calling me mushroom girl.

diavolobella's avatar

“Pacific” when they mean to say “Specific.” My SO does this all the time, but I love him a lot, so I let him slide. :D

I used to work for an attorney who abused the English language so severely that I actually listed his misused or just plain made up words in my blog, as if they were dictionary entries. My favorite of his was the use of “Flato” (pron. Flat O), as in “the Defendant’s wife accused him of forcing her to perform flato when she was not in the mood.”

Aster's avatar

Years ago a scruffy man approached us and said to me, “excuse my experience, ma’am; I just got off a horse.” I’ve never forgotten that.

Aster's avatar

A realtor was showing a home we had for sale around 1972 and, as the man walked down the hallway, she turned to us and said ,
“he’s a pharmist.”

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

You might get a kick out of this. It was a message sent to me by our SVP when I was leaving the company. We both adore playing on words, and often would send each other e-mails with typos (like the ‘plane/plain’ example above) and banter back and forth about what the message might mean if we took it literally. It was all in fun of language and not the writer…unless we caught each other in error.

“It is hard to believe that you are leaving, it is just beyond my apprehension. When I first learned of it, I about had cardinal arrest. This is unparalyzed in our department’s history to have someone leave after such a long time with us. To be here 22 years, just three shy of that mythical number.

You have had such a great career, you really plummeted to the top. When you were in QA, you are a very tough cookie, in fact you were remorseful. You always could see the big picture and never had channel vision. When a hotel disagreed with their score – you never let them hold you hostile, you stood up for yourself. I think its because you are a person of such admirable statue.

When you joined training, you understood the bondage between facilitator and learner. We didn’t know if you were going to join us in training or not –it was a real cliff dweller there for a while. It was a real series of swings and pendulums all the way through.
So we come to the end, and your going away party. I’ll tell you, I thought the knives were so sharp that if I wasn’t careful I might decapitate my hand! I just wish there was a salad bar, as I so enjoy the fresh neutrons that they have on them. As a going away present, we thought about getting you a coat, and since you will be living in London where it is cold, we wanted to get one with lots of installation. But, that was not to be.

Thanks for always finding the funny part of our language. Using the right word is so important, You really should win a grammy award.”

SundayKittens's avatar

“I” and “myself”.
It is so frequently used incorrectly…like “This is a picture of Mark and I” or “This is a picture of Mark and myself”. Shudder.

I have ranted on it endlessly. I blame other teachers for making kids fear using “me”. BLAME THEM, I SAY!

Aster's avatar

That is excellent, SK. I almost Never hear, “Mark and me.” Never. Highly educated people will say, “Mark and I.”

rodydoe89's avatar

I hear words mispronounced or mixed up with other words all the time… my brother and I live with 4 guys from kazakhstan… they’re all learning english.

One of my old friends used to say “supposably” instead of the correct “supposedly”. I tried to explain it to him one day that it’s spelled and pronounced “supposedly” with a “D”, but he continued to argue with me that I was wrong… so I gave up. Since then I’ve heard a few people say it incorrectly, and come to find out they were all from New Orleans… coincidence?

partyparty's avatar

@Aster excuse my experience, ma’am ... can’t stop laughing about this! LOLL

gravity's avatar

I crack up when I hear people say “pacific” for “specific” ... my s/o did the other day and I had to correct him. Being in the south I often hear “I come up here and I seen it” and I just nearly keel over! I can’t stand it!
@Pied_Pfeffer thanks for that hysterical laughter you just implanted on me… hehe that was hilar!

SundayKittens's avatar

@Aster That’s because they THINK they’re being highly educated by saying it! :)

diavolobella's avatar

My SO misused “poignant” all the time too. I had to call him out on that though, because it bugged me much more than the pacific/specific thing. He used it as if it meant “important.”

iamthemob's avatar


When most people use it (sadly, I include myself) they really mean figuratively.

I’m literally on my last legs.

I’m literally fuming with rage.


gravity's avatar

for those who have issues with who and whom and me or I- the website Grammar Girl is fabulous with her “quick and dirty tips”

ETpro's avatar

Socialist, communist, marxist… In political propaganda, word misues is all too common, and deliberate.

BoBo1946's avatar

@ETpro you are very correct my friend.

Aster's avatar

@partyparty “Would you borrow me your” I have never heard that!

rodydoe89's avatar

my grandmother says “I et” something instead of “I ate” something.

wgallios's avatar

I constantly hear people say “For all intensive purposes”, when the saying is actually “For all intents and purposes”.

Aster's avatar

Givenchy pronounced by a good friend as, “Givie Itchy.”

aprilsimnel's avatar

I misused “infinitesimally”. It means insanely small. I meant to say “astronomical”. Whoopsie!

JilltheTooth's avatar

@cockswain : oooh. Good one.

cockswain's avatar

I’m having terrible frustrations on a couple evolution threads right now

JilltheTooth's avatar

That’s why I left them.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I first heard the word borrow used in lieu of loan from a Minnesota girlfriend of Scandinavian ancestry back in the 70s and thought it very strange as she was quite educated. I finally understood when I later studied Swedish and Norwegian. The word borrow in Swedish is låna (pronounced low-nah). It’s a definite Scandinavian-American identifier that I’ve since heard quite often in the states west of Illinois along the Canadian border.

@ETpro Really. Add to that Liberal, Progressive, Populist and Social Democracy.

partyparty's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus Well I suppose we can excuse Swedish people confusing the word.
I am in the UK, and have heard the wrong word said quite often. Don’t like it!

cockswain's avatar

I used to know a guy that always said “mantic” instead of “manic”. That was pretty annoying, since he’d talk about how his girlfriend was getting all mantic. Finally I was like, “Hey, you know that Hendrix tune, Manic Depression? That’s how you say that word.”

as a semi-related aside, our other roommate thought “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” was really “Dirty Briefs in the Thunder Jeep.” He was singing it full balls like that one day and we let him know he was off on that one.

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