Ever meet a word whose definition surprises you?

In a crossword puzzle today, I ran into “puissant.” I’ve seen it before but never bothered to look it up. Today I did and it’s just about the opposite of what I thought it would be.

If you don’t know its definition take a guess. And then go to…


…for the answer.

If you do know, don’t spoil it. Give us instead a word whose meaning surprised you. Use spoilers if you want.

Yep - surfeit - I thought the definition was the exact opposite.

Hell, just today I learned the meaning of double-parked. Talk about feeling like a right prat…


Pronounced Queer-Ass (at least that’s how I pronounce it, ya know, cuz it comes up in conversation so often)

When I first looked it up years ago there was no mention of the current usage. Many older dictionaries still read that way.

Dont see how it’s any different tbh.

My guess is Nic2004 is referring to older dictionaries which perhaps didn’t mention male/female chauvinism.

Don’t worry, I always have heard it/used it as “taking up more than one parking space” as well.

Maybe it’s a southern thing.
Or a Daniel thing.

I’ve always thought and used “high-concept” to mean “something with a very complicated or convoluted concept to the point that the concept actually overwhelms the execution” - aka, a Chef who serves one postage stamp-sized sliver of meat with an eyedropper of sauce and calls it “steak,” or a filmmaker whose avant-garde biopic of Johnny Cash consists of three hours of footage of a goat wandering an abandoned factory.

Turns out, it means the exact opposite - it means something with a very simplistic concept that can be easily summed up in one sentence and appeals to a mass audience.

In fact, I’d been meaning to start this thread…

I was surprised by this definition for “kidney”

I used to think (why I can’t recall) that “penultimate” was the absolute tippy top of something instead of

Hmmm, it turns out I have surfeited the web and need to go lie down. Thanks, cabdude, for giving me my word of the day. :slight_smile:

Does any other Britisher see the word “surfeit” and think immediately of lampreys?

Doesnt matter, the chauvinist part still means the same as it always has.

I’ve always liked the word MALLEMAROKING - defined in Chambers dictionary as “carousing of seamen in icebound ships”. Its etymology is bonkers as well: from the Dutch mallemerok, a romping woman - itself from mal, foolish, and marok, from French marotte, a favoured object.

The next word in the dictionary is similarly odd: MALLEMUCK - the fulmar or similar bird; also from mal, foolois, plus mok, a gull.

You’ve surfeited the web, or it has surfeited you?

Don’t forget to look up the the word antepenultimate.

2 words that don’t sound like their definitions:

mollify - Sounds like the act of picking up a sledge hammer and destroying things. "I’m gonna mollify this $%#@&^^% computer".*
Actually it means to soothe.

enervated Seems as if it means to be filled with enrgy.
Actually it means to be depleted of energy.


Here’s one:

Main Entry: pe·ruse
Pronunciation: p&-'rüz
Function: transitive verb
Inflected Form(s): pe·rused; pe·rus·ing
Etymology: Middle English, to use up, deal with in sequence, from Latin per- thoroughly + Middle English usen to use
1 a : to examine or consider with attention and in detail : STUDY
b : to look over or through in a casual or cursory manner

So which is it? a) or b) :confused:

Many years ago, I was surprised to learn that fulsome has a negative connotation. It sounds so hearty and pleasant.

It’s both a) and b) Quicksilver. You’re studying the item, but sort of casually. Like when I’m shopping and looking over a handbag because it’s cute. Maybe I want it, maybe not, depending upon what I find while perusing the handbag.

Metaphysics always gets me. I expect equations and that’s not necessarily so.

The original meaning of slut was a surprise. *Slut’s wool * brought up some interesting mental images before I learned slut had to do with poor housekeeping.