I Literally Dislike this Word

We all fall foul to this beauty. Yet perhaps there is something to be learned among the dross and detritus of the day.

Literally, adverb. The primary or intended meaning of a verb.

This word plagues common speech. In part it helps us solve the dilemma of how to describe uncommon events in a public speech overwrought with the embossing and adornment of hyperbole, however it is fraught with risk.

Let us consider the case for usage.

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Mentee, Mentoree – Ngram – Final Word

Finally the final word. 

This is a follow up to two previous posts:

  1. Mentee, Mentoree, Meant What? and
  2. Mentee, Mentoree, Meant something after all,

… where I finally give into the prevailing tide.

With the ongoing conversation on the usage of Mentee vs Mentoree it occurred to me that there is a measure that will allow us to get a sense on usage.

Usage after all is one of the great arbitrators of nomenclature.

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Mentee, Mentoree – Meant something after all

This post is a continuation to a blog post I made back in January 2011.

Mentee, Mentoree – Meant What?

Please read this first and the comments to come up to speed. I’ll be referring to comments through the rest of this post.

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draw, draws, drawn, drew, drawer, drawers – withdraw – drawls

One of my favourite examples of a word with an awful lot of meaning wrapped into four letters:

Draw.

It seems simple enough. As in when we draw a picture right?

Let’s think about it. This meaning of the word seems to stem more broadly from to draw, as in to draw out. Say when we go to the nurse and she takes some blood, she will draw it out, or more simple put, draw some blood. To draw, in this sense, suggests something that comes out, perhaps painfully, or even carefully. If one has ever tried to draw, as in art, one can well sense why it is such an appropriate word.

However draw can also refer to something that goes in. That is to draw in, or draw near. To draw, in this sense, means something along the lines of a pull, or an invisible force. So we could say I was drawn by the wondrous light display, or while I was swimming at the beach the rip drew me under.

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Which one swooped? Fowl, foul or fell?

A fowl swoop seems only natural, but surely we mean a foul one?

Fowl

A FOWL is a bird, like a pheasant, a chicken or a duck.

One tends to picture a Nineteenth Century English countryside with English gentlemen blasting the skies with their shotguns, hounds yapping at their heels eager to collect dead birds; That or fond memories of childhood. See Danny the Champion of the World.

They are not a swooping bird so much as a bird that gets swatted at.

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Moot or Mute point? A Mote’s Point.

When something doesn’t amount to much. We have a word for that.

A mute is someone who doesn’t speak, they are mute on the matter, indeed they are mute on every matter.

I mute the television when the ads come on. Likewise, a mute might also mute the television if the phone rang and they wanted to hear what the other person was saying, though in no way could they respond – making their answering the phone somewhat moot.

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