Friday, April 6, 2012

Same, same but different


I love English... Always have, always will. So in my new job, whenever I get free time, I, like a good girl, pick up this big aquamarine and red book called the Chicago Manual of Style and I read through it. This is what I typed out from there. These are commonly misunderstood words.

Learning is fun!

To appraise is to put a value on something. To apprise is to inform or notify someone.
The jeweler appraised my necklace. Keep me apprised of any developments. Apprise me of the appraisal.

Credible means believable and credulous means gullible.

Disinterested means impartial and uninterested means unconcerned/bored.


Elicit means to draw out, while illicit means illegal.

To enervate is to weaken or drain, while to innervate is to stimulate or provide energy. Antonym alert!

What’s enumerable can be counted. What’s innumerable cannot be.

Every day is adverbial, while everyday is adjectival.
One may wear one’s everyday clothes every day.

To flounder is to struggle awkwardly, while to founder is to sink or fall to the ground.

A gibe is a biting insult or taunt. Gibes are figuratively thrown at their target. Jibe means to fit.
The angry crowd hurled gibes at the wicked witch.The verdict didn’t jibe with the judge’s own view of the facts.

To be grateful is to be thankful or appreciative. To be gratified is to be pleased or satisfied.


Malevolent means evil in mind. Maleficent means evil in thoughts.

A mantle is a long, loose garment like a cloak. A mantel is a wood or stone structure around a fireplace.

It is minuscule, not miniscule.


Noisome has nothing to do with noise; it means noxious, offensive, and foul-smelling.


Odious means hateful. Odorous means detectable by smell.


An officious person is aggressively nosy and meddlesome. It has nothing to do with official.

A peroration, strictly speaking, is the conclusion of an oration or speech. Careful writers avoid using peroration to refer to a rousing speech or text.

Prophesy is the verb, prophecy is the noun, and there is no such thing as prophesize.

To proscribe something is to prohibit it. To prescribe is to appoint or dictate, but y'all know that!

Restive can mean impatient, stubborn, or restless. Restful means conducive to rest.

A gantlet is a path between two lines of tormentors and a gauntlet is a knight's glove. Run the gantlet refers to a means of punishment and throw down the gauntlet refers to a dare (which the challenger accepts by picking up the gauntlet). Purists object to the frequently seen run the gauntlet. I did not know this!

What is tortious relates to torts/civil wrongs or to acts that give rise to legal claims for torts. What is tortuous is full of twists and turns. And what is torturous involves torture or severe discomfort.
A tortious interference with a contract. A tortuous path through the woods.

Turbid water is thick and opaque from stirred-up sediment, and by extension, unclear, confused, or disturbed. Turgid means swollen, and by extension, pompous, and bombastic. Torpid means idle and lazy.


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For 24 years of my life, I spelt weird as wierd. Now I know why. True story, this.

And I know that I'm probably overdoing it with the word adoration spree that I am on, but this is a very interesting read.

Now I have a question. Merriam Webster says that antecedent and precedent are synonyms. Are they or are they not?

Thank you for your kind attention. Hope you have the goodest of days! :)

6 comments:

  1. Thoroughly love this post, Lizzie! What's more fun than vocabulary? And I am good friends with the wonderful Chicago Manual of Style. How wonderful to know you are, too! xo

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    1. Oh, I agree with you completely! I want to write more about stuff like this... It helps me learn too...

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  2. So my friend, by now you know that I absolutely ADORE this post and am reveling in the fact that I've found you - hooray my fellow 'wordster'!

    Happy, happy day!

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    1. Oh my! I cannot stop smiling! Yaay! YOur blog isawesome for the same reason! Words! I don't do as many language posts as I should but you have really inspired me because you have done it so tastefully and creatively. :) :) Awesome work, Felicity...

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