You Keep Using That Word. I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means.
English is alive, as are most languages we translators come across in our work. And because of that, not only do we need to be aware of different meanings between languages, we also have to be aware of how meanings change across time.
Some words that used to mean one thing, now mean something quite different. Here are a few. Some of these you may be using correctly, and a few you may be surprised by.
- Disinterested: The actual meaning of this word is “neutral” – You could very well be disinterested but still be, well, interested. A disinterested party is one who does not have a stake in the issue. To be disinterested, you need to be unbiased, but you could, actually be quite interested.
- Fortuitous: Literally (we’ll get to literally later) this refers to something that happens due to fortune, or chance. There is nothing in this word that suggests good luck. More that something happened by chance. So if you are veering into wanting to say lucky, you may need the word fortunate.
- Ironic: There is no way we could write a list such as this and not include Alanis Morissette’s favorite word. Widely used nowadays to mean “by coincidence” this really means something closer to unexpected.
- Literally: I’m sure many of you are well aware that literally now means figuratively — literally. The dictionary definition has been amended to include both meanings. The English language is apparently alive and kicking.
- Ejaculate: If you’ve ever read antiquated novels, you may have been surprised by the use of this word. It does not mean what you think it means. It simply means “to exclaim’.
Seriously. We know you know the meanings of words. We know you probably knew these five misused words, even. But next time you’ve got something you need translated, come to us. We’ve been around since 2001 and we’ve translated thousands of documents: legal, business, certified translation. You name it.
LanguageTran is your trusted partner for all your translation needs. Let us give you a free quote today.