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Linguaholic

Most Popular Words That Aren't Words.


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Let me start by saying this is a huge pet peeve of mine. People use made-up words all the time without knowing it and it drives me insane! Lets talk about some of the most commonly-used words that aren't words. I'll start:

Irregardless

I still can't believe people haven't caught on the the fact this isn't actually the word they're thinking of. It's "REGARDLESS"!

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Language is always evolving. When I used to write I sometimes made up idioms and used them in my writing. We have that freedom so if someone makes up a word and you understand what they're trying to say then hey, communication successful!

Anyway, my favorite newly-coined word was spoken by Bush:

Misunderestimate.

Bush explained how his opponent and his advisors had not simply understimated him, nor merely misunderstood him. Oh no. "They misunderestimated me," he boasted, coining a term that would stick with him for the rest of his presidency.
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I'll add one to the list: administrate.  I've heard people say, "He administrated justice".  I just try to keep a straight face and go on with the conversation without correcting them.  Hopefully they will learn from their mistakes.

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I actually love making up new words, and sometimes like them better than actual words. I ought to start writing them down when I do, because I rarely remember them and usually just find them useful for the purpose at hand.

I looked up the word "administrate" at onelook and found this:  verb:  work in an administrative capacity; supervise

A friend used a word recently that I had never heard before and I actually had to stifle a laugh. Later I looked it up to find that it was indeed a real word. Again I cannot recall it but it seemed to me to be a word I knew like "engage" used as a verb. But it had a prefix on it.  That may have not been the root word.

It meant something like the act of getting people involved in something without letting them realize that you are encouraging them to do it; but letting them think they came up with the idea on their own.

Wish I could think of the word. grrr...  :confused:

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  • 3 weeks later...
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That's what language is all about, words that aren't used correctly when used by a lot of people constantly will make that word part of language. There are a lot of words out there some are abbreviations and slang such as gonna, won'cha and other words that are frequently heard in the music industry, but some people are already considering it okay as compared to others.

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"Towards" is my favorite misused word, it is supposed to be "toward" but I see lots of people put "S" on the end of it.  I think the sad part is that the Oxford dicionary is actually buying into the slang words and starting to incorporate them into the English Dictionary.  I could understand it in the urban dictionary you can find online, but I have always considered the Oxford more scholarly.

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Towards is a good example of how the practice can differ from what you find in the books, but having this said I think it's pretty much like the law is made, some words are created by use and not by theory.

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