Lancashire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
1:00 AM 18th November 2023

10 Words That Don’t Mean What You Think They Do

Photo by Sergi Kabrera on Unsplash
Photo by Sergi Kabrera on Unsplash
While some words in the English language typically tend to get mispronounced, others are simply misinterpreted.

What’s more, some of these words are the ones you’d be convinced you already know the true meaning of - but do you?

With this in mind, the language people at Preply have revealed a list of 10 words that don’t actually mean what you think they do…

1. Bemused does not mean ‘amused’

Contrary to popular belief, being ‘bemused’ is not the same as being ‘amused’. Rather, the word actually refers to a state of being ‘dazed’ or ‘bewildered’.

2. Depreciate does not mean ‘deprecate’

When something ‘depreciates’, this just means that it reduces in value. This is completely different to ‘deprecate’, which means to express disapproval or criticise something.

3. Disinterested does not mean ‘uninterested’

‘Disinterested’ and ‘uninterested’ should not be used interchangeably.

While uninterested is a synonym for words such as ‘bored’ or ‘indifferent’, disinterested is a synonym for ‘impartial’ or ‘unbiased’.

4. Electrocute does not mean ‘to get an electric shock’

Here’s one that raises a few eyebrows. Historically speaking, electrocute refers to an ‘electric execution’, so to be electrocuted is to die or be injured by an electric current. This is as opposed to just getting an electric shock.

5. Factoid does not mean ‘fact’

Popularised by Norman Mailer in 1973, ‘factoids’ as he explains are ‘facts which have no existence before appearing in a newspaper or magazine’. In other words, the popular opposite of ‘facts’.

6. Fortuitous does not mean ‘fortunate’

Technically speaking, being ‘fortuitous’ is not the same as being ‘fortunate’. Something that is ‘fortuitous’ means that it just so happens by chance, but something that is ‘fortunate’ means that it simply happens by good luck.

7. Hone does not mean ‘to close in’

As a standalone word, ‘hone’ does not mean ‘to close in’ or ‘home in’ on something. Rather, the word means ‘to sharpen’, for example, your skills or wit.

8. Loath does not mean ‘hate’

‘Loath’ does not mean ‘hate’, and the word actually refers to being ‘unwilling to do something’. Rather it is ‘loathe’ that refers to a feeling of intense dislike.

9. Oblivious does not mean ‘unaware’

When ‘oblivious’ first appeared in the dictionary, it originally meant ‘forgetful’ or ‘lacking memory’.

It is said that the word later evolved to mean ‘unaware’, but this meaning isn’t universally accepted.

10. Regularly does not mean ‘often’

In terms of frequency, for something to happen ‘regularly’ means that it happens in regular intervals in a somewhat predictable way. Rather, ‘often’ just refers to happening many times.

Information supplied by Preply