Wayward Words with Meanings That Went Astray

After_Reymerswaele_Tax_collectors_in_their_office

Cheater wearing cheaters? After Reymerswaele/ Wikimedia Commons

People sometimes tell you you’re misusing a word and cite the Latin origin as proof. Don’t fall for the etymological fallacy. What a word means depends, not on its origin, but on how speakers of a language understand it. Over time, words have a way of wandering and meanings mutate. If you stuck with older meanings of the following words, you could end up in a strange land where “naughty” is the same as “nice” and “awesome” means “terrible.”  More…

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About WordSnooper.com

Lexie Kahn: Word Snooper is a blog about words and their origins at WordSnooper.com.
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