Words whose definition is clearly wrong.

I always screw up nonplussed, because with the “non” part I have set it in my mind that it means not upset. To say nothing of the fact that we never describe something as “plussed” makes it all the more confusing, because I have no basis for the contrast. Gah.

Can we please, please change the meaning? Thanks.

Well, look at the other sports and how the balls were named something distinctive, appropriate to the sport:

Basketball. It’s got a basket.
Baseball. It’s got bases.
Volleyball. You hit it back and forth (aka volleying).

So, football: at least you contact the ball with your foot from time to time. Throwball, Goalpostball and Puntball are awkward names.

How the heck did “soccer” get named that? How often do you “socc” the ball?

During conjugal visits shouldn’t two willing partners be discussing verb tenses?

Obvious candidate: pulchritude - sounds like it is describing ugliness, not beauty…

The “soc” bit comes from the game’s official name, As-SOC-iation Football, as in the rules drawn up in 1863. Rugby football was already commonly known among public school types as “rugger”, so it was natural for them to abbreviate Association Football similarly to “soccer”.

Of course, nobody in his right mind in Britain would ever call it “soccer” nowadays. It’s always just “football”; if you want to refer to any other code, you have to specify it - Gaelic, Rugby (either League or Union), Australian Rules or, um, American.

Then there’s congenital which sounds like it describes something you place in your underpants for safekeeping.

bemused - I always though it should mean “sarcastically humored by something” rather than “bewildered”

scion - IMO should refer to the “leading authority” or “head of the family” rather than the child.

epitome - this one just gets used wrong all the time. It doesn’t mean the “outstanding, peak example” of something like everyone seems to think, it means the “typical, average example” of something. “You’re the epitome of a golfer” is not necessarily a compliment.

poopdeck - boy did the real meaning of that one surprise me when I first learned it. :slight_smile:

I’ve always thought “prone” should mean “immune to harm” rather than the opposite. I don’t know why, but I was quite discomfited when I found out what it meant.

Can we pick one meaning for “sanction” and get rid of the other one? Either it means “to give official authorization or approval to” OR it means, “to penalize,” but it shouldn’t mean both. One definition is wrong, clearly.

Gasp! I’ve been using it wrong all this while. Thanks for that.

Hemiola sounds like some sort of weird medical thing, but it’s a musical term.

Apparently the game was originally called football not because it was played with the feet, but because it was played on foot (rather than on horseback):

Paul Gardner, “The Simplest Game” Chapter 1 at p.1.

(bolding mine)

Wouldn’t that be progenital?

You’re thinking of the word con meaning in opposition, from ME contra.

I’m using the latin root con (or com) meaning with in this context.



Oh, it gets worse. The correct spelling is actually diphthong.

Thufferin’ thuccotash!

reproductive equipment – should be VCR’s, DVD players, projectors, CD burners, etc.

Well, it occurs to me that my username could quite plausibly mean “Someone who speaks from his lower intestine” :dubious:

(It doesn’t)

I’ll try to remember to cite some stuff on this. May take a day or so.

Basically, it goes back to the original rules of football a century ago. It is only recently (maybe 60 years) that the forward pass was even introduced. Before that, going back to the '20s and '30s teams of the Packers (and by default all lesser teams :wink: ), it was pretty much rushing and kicking. The forward pass was a revolution to American football. And not welcomed when introduced at the time.

Before 1940 there was no definitive positions of quarterback, halfback, fullback, nor tight end. You had a center setting the ball, a guy taking the snap, and someone running the ball. There were some men that lined up eligible to be a “ball in play” guy, as it were. But if the QB threw the ball, it had to be behind the line of scrimmage. Hence, the forward pass being such a huge revolution in football.

That’s a very wordy answer to the reply, but hopefully a glimpse into why we call it football. It was originally based on kicking the ball, as running it was rather tough when you couldn’t throw the ball for 30+ yards in a play.

Dooku gets a twofer with this post – I always thought bemused did mean, essentially, “sarcastically humored by something”. Huh.

(Interestingly, M-W gives a secondary definition of “to occupy the attention of”.

Every time I think I don’t like it here anymore, a thread like this pops up and I’m enthralled all over again.

irenic. Makes me think of “ire”, which connotes the opposite of its true definition.