Say What?

In Uncategorized on February 2, 2011 at 7:19 pm

Don’t you just cringe when someone mispronounces or completely makes up a word? It’s kinda like they have a booger in their nose, and you wonder if you should give a heads up or let them continue to embarrass themselves.

I’ve had my fair share of gaffes. In college, we were taking turns reading aloud, and I came across the word “façade” and mistakenly pronounced it fay-kaid. I rebounded quickly and corrected myself, but still (I thought reading out loud was reserved for grade school). When I was about eight years-old, I pronounced “manure” as man-yur. Pretty embarrassing. Luckily, chances are slim I’ll have to read that word aloud again.

My favorite mispronounced word is when someone tried saying “vignettes,” but it came out as vig-netties. Eeek. Or how about the department of redundancy department? – seriously heard someone use the phrase “judicious judgment.” I also get a kick out of people who just make it too hard – like using “maliciousness” instead of “malice.” Finally, it’s almost unbearable when people merge a mispronounced phrase by ending with “blehhh blehhh.” Wouldn’t it be nice if we had speech-check in addition to spell-check?

Not sure what’s worse – mispronouncing or completely making up words. Over the years, I have compiled a list of made-up words used by actual people – no doubt I made them feel self-conscious as I randomly jotted down a note after hearing a word like “clarificate.” Oh well – I can’t help myself. My absolute favorite is a combination of the word “ambiguous” and “ambiguity” – put ‘em together and you get “ambiguitous.” Not only is that clearly not a word, but hearing someone say it in a professional setting is hilarious.

Here are some more…

  • Vaccinize
  • Supposively or Supposably
  • Analysize or Analyzation
  • Unexpectable
  • Mispronunciate
  • Artistical
  • Salamonella
  • Decevious
  • Flustrated
  • Unproportionable
  • Implementate
  • Discussionary
  • Productional
  • Uncomfortability
  • Dumbified (vs. dumbfounded)

Again, this is a real list.

I’ll end with an example I saw on a blog, in which some guy was dogging another person in the comments section – they retorted, “it’s not rocket surgery!” Really? I can understand brain surgery or rocket science, but rocket surgery? Funny stuff.

Anyone have examples to share?

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of my employer nor any other organization I am affiliated with. Also, please see the “About” page in case you are offended or even mildly irritated. Thanks!

  1. My friend describes actions done blatantly as “chalantly.” I.e. “I was being very chalant about the feelings I had for her.”

    And you can’t make this one up, but my varsity baseball coach once told us that baseball is not a game of “rocket-scientistry.” After that, we all had to run several laps.

  2. I’ve used tensious (as in the conversation got really tensious) versus tense. I guess I’m awkward. 😉

  3. I was reading along the page about the investor who was “misled” (thinking it was pronounced “myzzled”) by an advisor and had to stop and say to myself, “What? misled? Oh, misled…..”

    Great list. Love “ambiguitous.”

  4. One of my favorite non-word words is one of my own devising, making up it while weaving through, around and (occasionally) into thick holiday pedistrian toursit traffic in Times Square: navigotiate. A combination of navigate and negotiate, both of which one must do to successfully perambulate in midtown Manhattan. I, however, use it carefully and intentionally with a suave sense of irony, not in the awkward, bumbling George Bush/Emril Lagasse School of Languification sense from which you seem to have culled much of your list.

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