Monday, September 21, 2009

Good to know!!

You know when you hear a word and recognize it but have no idea what it means? Or think you do, but really you don't? I am going to compile a list of commonly misunderstood, misused and just weird words. Bear with me, it's probably going to be a work in progress :0)

1. Pied a terre: This one is so cool, I had to look it up myself because I've heard it over and over and had no clue what it was. A pied-a-terre is a french term that means, literally, "foot on the ground". In English it refers to a small living space that is not your primary residence, like an apartment a commuter keeps in the city.

2. Facetious: Pronounced "FAH-see-SHUS". It means trying to be funny or jocular at an inappropriate time.

3. Hyperbole: Pronounced "High-per-bow-LEE", its a figure of speech that intentionally uses exaggeration for effect, like "I could eat a horse" or "You owe me a million bucks"

4. Segue: Pronounced "SEG-way" it means to deliberately transition from one thing to another, "the conversation segued to politics" "dusk segued to night"

5. Euphemism: Pronounced "YOU-fem-is-UM" it is when you substitute a mild term for a vulgar or offensive one. Sometimes called "doublespeak" one speaks around a term or word, implying it without actually saying it.

6. Exacerbate : I am guilty of mispronouncing this one about 99.9% of the time. I just can't get my tongue around it. It means to aggravate or increase in bitterness or violence.

7. Et cetera : This, I think, must be one of the most frequently mispronounced words I come across. It is two Latin words meaning "and other things" or "so on". It is not pronounced "Exe-cetera!!!!! It's "Et"!! Thank you.

8. Raspberry: Yes, raspberry. Everyone says "razz-berry" and looks at me funnily when I say it properly. It's RASP-berry. K?

9. Et al: Pronounced the way it looks, it means "and everything else" like “She was accompanied by the vice president, the secretary of state, et al.”

10. Hors D'Oeuvres: Pronounced "OR-duh-ERV-s, this is a French term meaning "outside the main course". As in all French words, the "H" is silent and it confuses many people, along with the onslaught of vowels that are difficult to string together. Basically, hors d'oeuvres are appetizers.

11. Ambiguous: Pronounced "AM-big-you-US it refers to being capable of being understood in more than one way, or currently, being unable to discern male from female "the person was dressed in an ambiguous manner, we couldn't tell if it was a he or a she"

This was fun, I'll likely add more as I think of them. Feel free to submit some in the comments!!

No comments: