I’m seeking to collect a select and judicious set of words that are (American) English, but meet these requirements:
A word that people think means one thing, but it’s actually the opposite (e.g. nonplussed)
Commonly misunderstood words.
Weird or just plain interesting words. You might not use them in conversation (or might), but they’re compelling or have a uniqueness about them.
Some other 4th thing.
Basically, a selection of words that would make for a compelling collection. Hit me with your favorites (and if you want, why they’re your favorite); I’m thinking of designing a coffee-table type book of 100 words or so, but just want to see what’s out there to mine.
Any of a group of words which although they purport to represent a distinct time period - may mean an almost opposite time-period, and are therefore guarnteeed to cause difficulties. Bi-weekly (twice per week or every two?) that sort of thing.
Perfect. Great example, and falls under my “Some other 4th thing” category. I can’t imagine this aspect of our language would’ve surfaced. Thank you.
Again, just the sort of thing I was looking for. Also, the particular etymology is wonderful for these two words. 1) You would assume “flammable” came first. 2) The idea that inflammable means “fire-proof” is further strengthened by the word “flammable”.
Excellent. Reminds me of words like Sequoia which hold all 5 vowels. That one’s pretty common knowledge, but I wonder if there’s more words along such lines.
I knew “orange” doesn’t have a true word that rhymes with it (although door hinge is close, it’s technically not one word), I’ve heard nothing rhymes with “purple” as well, but never really looked into it.
My contribution to this thread:
I found this word in Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham and at first thought it was a misprint.
“yclept”, meaning “named”. Merriam-Webster says that yclept is the past participle of the transitive verb “clepe”.
e.g. The poster yclept cmyk is a fine upstanding fellow.