Words can be deceiving sometimes, especially that the English language, or any language for that matter, is always evolving. There are words that confuse the logic out of our nerdy heads because we thought they meant something but in fact, they mean a completely different thing. So here is a list of some of the words that do not mean what you think they mean.
If you think bemused means the same thing as amused, you’re absolutely wrong. And if you are someone who is reading this for the first time, you might be confused. And that’s exactly what bemused means: confused.
Disinterested does not mean uninterested, at all. So, if you find a movie to be boring and a waste of your time, you are uninterested, not disinterested. Disinterested means that you don’t have any stake in the outcome because you’re not invested in something. The two words are used interchangeably a lot these days that they have become synonymous, but it is a distinction that style guides are keen to maintain.
Ever accidentally stick your finger in an electrical outlet and get electrocuted? Well, you were not electrocuted unless you died after the accident and got buried, you just got a mild electric shock. Because the word electrocute means to kill or execute someone with an electric shock. Remember the electric chair to help you make the distinction.
Factoid is not synonymous with fact. The word factoid is a relatively new word that was coined by Norman Mailer in 1973, and unlike most people who use the word today, he meant for it to mean fake news that people believe just because they’ve seen it written somewhere. So, a factoid is not a fun trivia fact, it’s a tabloid.
This is a word that is often misused because of its deceptive nature. Unlike what most people think, it does not mean ‘not bothered’. Nonplussed means confounded and perplexed and as such derives from the Latin expression non plus which literally means no more. So, if you are nonplussed you may be in a situation in which you are so bewildered and confused that you can’t take no more.
Plethora does not mean a ‘lot of‘. Strictly speaking, it means ‘too much of‘ or an ‘overabundance of‘. This makes perfect sense from an etymological point of view as plethora was originally a medical term meaning surplus or imbalance of bodily fluids—and in particular blood—that could be blamed for a period of ill health; in that sense, it literally means “fullness” in Greek.
We often hear people saying they are perusing a newspaper or a magazine in the sense that they are browsing it. Please, people, stop saying that! Peruse does not mean browse. In fact, it means the opposite. When you peruse something, you study it thoroughly and in great detail.
Regularly is not synonymous with often, nor is it with frequently. If something happens often, it does not mean it happens regularly and vice versa. When something happens regularly, it happens at regular, ordered intervals or in a predictable, uniform way.
Because it sounds like luxurious, most people assume they mean the same thing, naaah! If something is luxuriant is not necessarily expensive. Instead, it is lush, overblown, or prolifically overabundant.
Refute and deny are not the same. If you say “I refute that”, you don’t mean that you merely deny or refuse it, it means you can prove it to be false.