41 People On The Most Misused Words In The English Language

Found on AskReddit.
Clueless / Amazon.com
Clueless / Amazon.com

1. “Travesty.”

“Travesty” should be near the top of the list. Many people think that it is a synonym of “tragedy,” and it’s not. It really means a mockery of something in a serious sense of the word…for example, a travesty of justice CAN be a tragedy (and almost always is), but that phrase is used to described something that has made a mockery of a legal system.

2. “Random.”

Dying your hair green isn’t random, you intended to do it.

3. “Everyday.”

People use it to mean “every day” but in fact when you put the “every” and the “day” together they become an adjective meaning “commonplace” e.g. “I’m just a regular, everyday, normal guy.”

4. “Insure/ensure.”

“Insure” is not quite the same thing as “ensure.”

Nobody seems to care but me, though.

5. “Could of”

As in, “I could of told you that.”

6. “For all intents and purposes.”

It’s not “for all intensive purposes.” I feel dumb because I only was made privy a few months ago, but its “all intents and purposes.”

7. “Yourself/Myself/Ourselves.”

Yourself, myself and ourselves in place of you, me and us.

People (especially in my office) think that they are entirely interchangeable and can be used when talking to people on the phone to make themselves sound more intelligent. The reality is they sound like morons.

Example: Hi it is Hannah calling from the company, my colleague Phil asked myself to give yourself a call? call continues Ok I need that in writing from yourself. You can email it to myself at blah@blah.com.

8. “I couldn’t care less.”

The expression “I couldn’t care less” is generally used incorrectly.

I always hear people say “I could care less” which, in my mind, means precisely the opposite.

9. “Espresso.”

When people say “expresso” instead of “espresso,” I die a little inside.

10. “Disinterested/Uninterested.”

Disinterested means you don’t have a stake in something (like you don’t own shares in apple as their stocks are rising). Uninterested means you’re bored.

11. “Converse.”

Conversate. Makes me want to tell the people I hear throwing that garbage around “There is no such word you fucktwat! It’s CONVERSE!!!”

12. “Factoid.”

Factoid does NOT mean “small fact”. A factoid is misinformation that has been presented as fact so often that it becomes commonly accepted as fact. The saddest/funniest thing is that misuse of the word has effectively changed its definition thanks to common use.

13. “Literally.”

No you did not “literally die of laughter” unless you actually passed away from laughing too much.

14. “Racist.”

Using racist when you really mean prejudice.

15. “Jealous”

“Jealous” when most people actually mean “envious.”

16. “Less.”

It’s like “fewer” doesn’t exist.

17. “I got electrocuted.”

You did not get electrocuted. You got shocked.

If you were electrocuted, you would not be alive to inform me about your mishap.

18. “Whence.”

When people try to be all fancy and say “from whence it came.” The word whence means “from where,” so you don’t need to say “from.”

19. “Murder.”

I see it misused quite often in place of “kill”. To murder is to commit an unlawful killing with intent. You are not a murderer if you fought in a war, nor are you one if you accidentally hit someone with your car.

20. “Reverse racism.”

Reverse racism, I hate it. There is only racism. No matter your color, you can be racist.

21. “Further/farther.”

Further used in measuring distance. Should be “farther”.

22. “Was/were.”

Was. If you can find an if preceding it, it’s “were”, not was.

For those who want to understand more, lookup the subjunctive mood.

23. “Laying/lying.”

Most definitely the use of the word laying versus lying. Nobody ever correctly says, “My dog is lying on the floor.” It is so enraging to me.

24. “Fetish.”

A fetish: fetishisms is doing it with inanimate objects and a fetish it the object. Most people think that a fetish is a paraphilia while a fetish is actually a sort of paraphilia.

25. “Overwhelmed/whelmed.”

Overwhelmed means the exact same thing as whelmed. (The second definition in the second section.)

26. “Most/almost.”

“Most” instead of “almost”, as in “most everyone”. It’s “almost everyone”, you stupid twatfaced cockjockey!

27. “Thaw.”

“Unthaw” It is often used to mean unfreeze something, which is actually just “thaw.” Unthaw means to freeze something.

28. “Hysterical.”

Common usage: synonym for “hilarious.”

Actual definition: 1. of, pertaining to, or characterized by hysteria; 2. uncontrollably emotional; 3. irrational from fear, emotion, or an emotional shock; 4. causing hysteria; 5. suffering from or subject to hysteria.

29. “Belligerent.”

“Belligerent” when referring to very drunk.

Belligerently drunk refers to someone who is so drunk they get angry and want to fight. Just because you don’t remember part of your night, threw up, or drank a lot doesn’t mean you were belligerently drunk, it just means you had a lot of alcohol.

30. “Penultimate.”

Penultimate means second to the last, not the best.

31. “Alright.”

Alright X.
All right O.

32. “Anarchy.”

The traditional (and logical) definition of anarchy is the absence of government. It is ridiculous to make it synonymous with chaos.

There is always order within a society regardless of the power of the state. A new law doesn’t magically create order.

33. “Ironic.”

It’s almost NEVER used correctly.

34. “OCD.”

Just because you have to have your movies in the right order does not mean you have a fucking disorder.

35. “Momentarily.”

George Carlin taught me (in one of his books) that everyone uses the word “momentarily” incorrectly. It means having a duration of a moment, but people use it to mean that something will happen soon. The right word is “presently.”

36. “Migraine.”

Seriously, if you aren’t huddled up in a bed under the covers and can’t stand light or are nauseous, you have a headache.

37. “Base.”

Fundamentally the word means the lowest part of something. And so, when you’re building an argument on certain bits of evidence, FOLLOWING OTHER BITS OF EVIDENCE, YOU BASE IT ON SHIT, NOT OFF OF SHIT.

The base is the foundational building block of your argument upon which you place the rest of it. UPON WHICH, NOT OFF SOMEWHERE ON THE FUCKING GROUND.

38. “Antisocial.”

Someone who avoids social interaction is asocial.

A criminal is antisocial.

39. “Anniversary.”

Anniversary is one that really bugs me. It means once per year on the same date, not once per whatever the heck you want. People will say something like “It’s our two month anniversary” which doesn’t mean anything at all.

40. “Different than.”

Start noticing when people say “different than.” “Boys are different than girls because they roughhouse more often.”
You cannot be different “Than” something. You can only be different “From” something. “Than” implies degree; “From” implies only separation.

41. “Hopefully.”

It doesn’t mean what you think it means.

“She will hopefully go to the store” means she will go to the store, full of hope. NOT that we hope she will go to the store. “I am hopeful she will go to the store” is what people think it means. Nope. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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