Jul 18 2011
It’s a constant thing that happens in the English language. News and sports reporters are probably the biggest culprits of this but for some reason they enjoy making up definitions for words.
Over the years certain words are reflected in ways that are 100% contrary to their actually definitions. How this came to be is anyone’s guess but it’s time people stop writing and speaking wrong.
Here are six words that are misused all the time….
Ever notice when you’re watching a sporting event on television that the announcers use the word momentum in referring to a shift in the game? They’ll say something like “Colorado’s got the momentum now!” which basically means that Colorado has taken the energy or advantage in the game. Momentum is a physics term that means “The quantity of motion of a moving body, measured as a product of its mass and velocity.” How it means a team’s advantage is beyond me.
It’s funny because it’s not that the word unique itself is used wrong. People use this word in the right context but always incorrectly accompany it with other words to try and quantify it. Ever hear someone say “that’s really unique” or “very unique.” Unique itself means “Being the only one of its kind; unlike anything else.” With that definition there’s never a need for an adjective.
Technically this word is supposed to be used to describe something that is actually happening. Granted most people use it as slang and in a joking manner but when you really think about it, it’s usually gross. “I literally shit my pants.” That’s a pretty crappy visual wouldn’t you say?
Chronic is originally a medical term meaning “long term”; it has the same root as “chronometer”. Someone suffering from chronic pain has long term pain. It’s often used to mean “very bad.” Ever hear people say that economy is in chronic shape? Nope, doesn’t mean that at all. How can the economy be in long term shape?
These days, it’s almost universally assumed that “instant” actually means “quickly” or “without intervention.” Instant coffee anyone? Instant actually means at a precise moment in time. Such as “the instant lightning bolted out of the sky.” But for some reason people think it means fast.
Did you know that this word actually means “extreme evil?” For some reason people think it’s referring to something large or enormous. People will use the term to describe the “largeness” of a certain moment when in fact it doesn’t mean that at all.
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