the meaning of words

in reality, all of this has been a total load of old bollocks
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the meaning of words

Postby CAN » 25 Jan 2018, 23:56

I remember watching a teacher trying to explain 'glib', and he told students it was something like 'shiny' :lol:

I wasn't really sure what 'unctuous' meant until a few years ago but I used it anyway as a kind of generic negative adjective :oops:

People here use 'disingenuous' incorrectly sometimes. Same with 'visceral'.
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Re: the meaning of words

Postby Hugh » 26 Jan 2018, 00:07

I’ve seen people use enervating to mean the opposite of what it does.

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Re: the meaning of words

Postby Rayge » 26 Jan 2018, 00:32

Corruscating is one that gets me. People use it in contexts that suggest it means 'scathing', perhaps by analogy with corrosive
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Re: the meaning of words

Postby CAN » 26 Jan 2018, 00:33

Some people even spell it with one 'r' :)
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Re: the meaning of words

Postby Jimbo » 26 Jan 2018, 00:56

visceral - has something to do with engine oil, right?
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Re: the meaning of words

Postby Rayge » 26 Jan 2018, 01:07

OCT wrote:Some people even spell it with one 'r' :)

:lol:
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Re: the meaning of words

Postby LeBaron » 26 Jan 2018, 01:25

I'm mostly at peace with the evolving nature of language. So why do these things annoy me? I think it has to do with being around to witness the changes and seeing that meanings are changing not over a lengthy, gradual process, but over one generation that, out of apparent mass ignorance, decides a word means something else. Oh well. Nothing I can do about it.
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Re: the meaning of words

Postby CAN » 26 Jan 2018, 08:41

I wasn't really thinking about how words can change their meaning over time ('literally' in Br. Eng. is a bit of a shocker) but how sometimes we don't really have a firm grip on the meaning of words that we use ourselves. We're usually too proud or too busy to check the meaning in the dictionary (which we probably didn't do in the first place, we just 'picked it up').

And now of course I can't think of an example...
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Re: the meaning of words

Postby hippopotamus » 26 Jan 2018, 08:59

I'm going to make up a completely different meaning for your thread:

The other day a friend was telling a story and then stopped short when he came to a word he had no idea how to say or spell. He vaguely knew the SOUND of it... so he just kept sputtering noises in the hope the word he meant would come out. I thought he was broken.

The word was proselytize. I'm a bit dyslexic so when he tried to throw letters at me I got further and further away from what he meant. And I kept saying "I don't know that word!!!!" So he would move on. But he kept insisting.

Even when he finally said it correctly I denied all knowledge and told him it probably wasn t even a word. Later that evening I read it in a book and realised I completely knew that word, but I too had never thought about it's spelling or pronunciation because its a word you read and should never say allowed.
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Re: the meaning of words

Postby Dr Markus » 26 Jan 2018, 12:20

Trying to explain the meaning of some Irish slang can be tough. Then even regional slang to other Irish people can be a nightmare. I think "ironic" gets misused a lot of the time, of course that's Alanis Morissette's fault.
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Re: the meaning of words

Postby Fonz » 26 Jan 2018, 12:37

Kindle is good for learning what words mean.

I don’t know how to pronounce ‘chagrin’, much to my chagrin.
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Re: the meaning of words

Postby Minnie the Minx » 26 Jan 2018, 12:37

'Passive aggressive' floats freely and largely nonsensically these days.
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Re: the meaning of words

Postby Toby » 26 Jan 2018, 12:41

I'm guilty of it in the past. But a university education and rigorous marking of assignments has helped me to lose the habit, said he, quixotically.

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Re: the meaning of words

Postby LeBaron » 26 Jan 2018, 12:43

OCT wrote:I wasn't really thinking about how words can change their meaning over time ('literally' in Br. Eng. is a bit of a shocker) but how sometimes we don't really have a firm grip on the meaning of words that we use ourselves. We're usually too proud or too busy to check the meaning in the dictionary (which we probably didn't do in the first place, we just 'picked it up').


Which is especially weird as you can now look stuff up on the internet. It takes seconds!

I look things up compulsively, but I’m weird I guess.
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Re: the meaning of words

Postby CAN » 26 Jan 2018, 12:50

Is the internet responsible for educating us or stupefying us?
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Re: the meaning of words

Postby CAN » 26 Jan 2018, 12:52

Minnie the Minx wrote:'Passive aggressive' floats freely and largely nonsensically these days.


Fuck, yeah. I hear it every day.

Maybe it’s just me!
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Re: the meaning of words

Postby Toby » 26 Jan 2018, 12:56

OCT wrote:Is the internet responsible for educating us or stupefying us?


More and more the latter I feel.

I would hazard a guess that in a real life context, if you said something grammatically incorrect, someone would probably correct you, in a friendly manner, if they knew. But in a social media/online context, there is no-one to correct you for fear of coming across as a pedantic shit.

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Re: the meaning of words

Postby Dr Markus » 26 Jan 2018, 13:00

Toby wrote:
OCT wrote:Is the internet responsible for educating us or stupefying us?


More and more the latter I feel.

I would hazard a guess that in a real life context, if you said something grammatically incorrect, someone would probably correct you, in a friendly manner, if they knew. But in a social media/online context, there is no-one to correct you for fear of coming across as a pedantic shit.


It's scary to think, where it could take language in the future. It could turn "super" stupid.
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Re: the meaning of words

Postby Toby » 26 Jan 2018, 13:07

Well, that depends on how you determine what "successful" language is like. If someone can recognise and understand m tlking lk ths n a mssg brd bc I cant b rsed to spll prprly then what does mean? If you can understand what I'm saying, then surely there is no need for those letters. They are superficial and can be removed.

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Re: the meaning of words

Postby CAN » 26 Jan 2018, 13:08

Well yeah, but I often think people are fighting the wrong battles. Remember all the fuss a couple of decades ago about ‘textspeak’? You know, ‘R U OK?’ ? This was convenient rather than harmful.

Anyway - inevitably this thread has moved on to the usual moans about ‘language abuse’
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