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Old 06-29-2017, 03:02 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Words that shouldn't mean what they mean

My city is building a funicular.

It's ok, I didn't know what a funicular was either until I heard we were getting one. Now that I know, I still don't think it sounds like it means what it means. In fact, every time I hear a reporter or politician say it I smirk a bit. Funicular. Sounds kind of ... I don't know, sounds like a fetish or something. If not a kink, an alien race from a scifi series at the least.

Anyone else have words that they think simply don't work? Words That just don't sound, or look, or have a mouth feel that matches their meaning?
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Old 06-29-2017, 03:08 AM   #2 (permalink)
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What is mouth feel? Well, either you know what I mean about words having a sensation in your mouth, or you don't. I don't think I can explain it.
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Old 06-29-2017, 04:12 AM   #3 (permalink)
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"Defenestration" also sounds like it should be some kind of exotic fetish. In reality it just means throwing something out a window.
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Old 06-29-2017, 04:33 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Old 06-29-2017, 04:43 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I've been using the word "whelmed" lately, I use it to mean feeling perfectly normal, i.e., neither overwhelmed nor underwhelmed. Just whelmed.

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Old 06-29-2017, 07:48 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Old 06-29-2017, 08:44 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I don't know what a funicular is so I'll guess, a cross between a labyrinth and a composter.

Click, click, click, google search ...

Cable railroad
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Old 06-29-2017, 08:56 AM   #8 (permalink)
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My brain is being obstinate this morning and instead of thinking of words that don't match their meaning, it latched on to the exact opposite, a word that sounds exactly like you would expect it to sound.

persnickety

Now I'm burning to use that word today.
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Old 06-29-2017, 11:03 AM   #9 (permalink)
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"Defenestration" also sounds like it should be some kind of exotic fetish. In reality it just means throwing something out a window.
Throwing people out of windows *is* an 'exotic fetish' for some of us...
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Old 06-29-2017, 11:14 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I'm having the same problem as beebo... I know there's a handful of words even common words that don't match what the sound like... but the problem is when I try to think of them there's no mental link because... it doesn't sound like what it is = D

... so instead I'll go with phrases with illogical meanings... like wise guy and wise man (opposite meanings), and smart ass and dumb ass (same meaning), digital (almost never refers to finger and toes, or even numbers, but rather discrete math), analog (usually refers to continuous spectrum, rather than something that is similar in function to something else)

and then there's this

PS
I knew what a funicular is thanks to gaming... Deus EX: Human Revolution... the official description doesn't do it justice, it's basically the bastard child of an elevator (lift to non americans) and an escalator
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Old 06-29-2017, 11:27 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Fun Fact: "Spelunke" is a German pejorative word for a pub or bar.
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Old 06-29-2017, 11:35 AM   #12 (permalink)
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What is mouth feel? Well, either you know what I mean about words having a sensation in your mouth, or you don't. I don't think I can explain it.


*runs*
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Old 06-29-2017, 11:37 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Carbuncle.

Sounds like it should be a really rolypoly relative who always has amazing food on hand. Isn't that at all.
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Old 06-29-2017, 11:39 AM   #14 (permalink)
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digital (almost never refers to finger and toes, or even numbers, but rather discrete math), analog (usually refers to continuous spectrum, rather than something that is similar in function to something else)
I poked around for the origins of digital and analog. Digital comes from Latin digitus. That has to do with your fingers, including counting on them. They are digital in the modern computer sense in that we would finger count - one, two. There is no 1 1/2.

Analog is trickier. It comes from the Greek ἀνάλογος (click on LSJ) with meanings of proportionate, conformable / well proportioned, suitable / equivalent to, resembling.
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Old 06-29-2017, 11:46 AM   #15 (permalink)
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"Defenestration" also sounds like it should be some kind of exotic fetish. In reality it just means throwing something out a window.
Oddly enough, that's exactly the word that came to mind when I saw this thread. It's been my lifelong ambition since college history to avoid being defenestrated!

So far, so good.
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Old 06-29-2017, 01:22 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I end up reading a lot of stuff from BBC News and The Guardian, and the word fortnight always throws me. I have to stop and think about what it actually means.
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Old 06-29-2017, 02:00 PM   #17 (permalink)
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We all spend our nights in forts here, seems perfectly reasonable to me.
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Old 06-29-2017, 02:29 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Actually I think this belongs here.

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Old 06-29-2017, 03:36 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I end up reading a lot of stuff from BBC News and The Guardian, and the word fortnight always throws me. I have to stop and think about what it actually means.
A fortnight is 2 weeks. Just one of those little fun facts I've known since I was a kid. I read a lot. A LOT! At a much higher reading level than other kids my age.

I started reading Heinlein at age 7.
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Old 06-29-2017, 08:59 PM   #20 (permalink)
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My brain is being obstinate this morning and instead of thinking of words that don't match their meaning, it latched on to the exact opposite, a word that sounds exactly like you would expect it to sound.

persnickety

Now I'm burning to use that word today.
I'll give you my car for a day. I guarantee you'll get at least one occasion to use that word. Along with choice others, I'm sure.
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Old 06-30-2017, 02:24 AM   #21 (permalink)
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I end up reading a lot of stuff from BBC News and The Guardian, and the word fortnight always throws me. I have to stop and think about what it actually means.
I take it that you're not familiar with that well-known measurement of speed, 'Furlongs per Fortnight' ?
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Old 06-30-2017, 02:49 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
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What is mouth feel? Well, either you know what I mean about words having a sensation in your mouth, or you don't. I don't think I can explain it.
*
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Last edited by Dickie Swansong; 06-30-2017 at 02:52 AM. Reason: * well, that's what it meant to me!
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Old 06-30-2017, 02:15 PM   #23 (permalink)
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A fortnight is 2 weeks. Just one of those little fun facts I've known since I was a kid. I read a lot. A LOT! At a much higher reading level than other kids my age.

I started reading Heinlein at age 7.
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You disagree with what exactly? I don't recall you being there during my childhood.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fortnight
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Old 06-30-2017, 04:15 PM   #24 (permalink)
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I take it that you're not familiar with that well-known measurement of speed, 'Furlongs per Fortnight' ?
One of the NASA contracts I worked on long ago specified "British Units", when they meant "English Units". I was tempted to quote rocket engine thrust in "stone-furlongs per fortnight squared" and propellant tank size in hogsheads.
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Old 06-30-2017, 04:37 PM   #25 (permalink)
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