What did she say? The 10 funniest misused words of the English language


We all make mistakes, it’s human, it may teach us a lesson or two, but sometimes- it’s just too funny! Here are some of those words that actually don’t really mean what you may think they mean….


When you say “I am nauseous”, you think you’re saying that you don’t feel too well. What you’re really saying is that you’re making others feel sick! Instead, say “I’m nauseated”.
So no, I am not nauseous!


When you say “terrific” you think you’re saying that something is amazing, awesome and great, what you’re really saying is that it caused terror and basically scared the s**t out of you.
So no, that comedy wasn’t a terrific one!


When you say “enormity” you think you’re talking about size (surely- something that’s enormous is something very big!) yet enormity is actually a terrifying scale of moral injustice, plain evil.
So no, you are not amazed by the Statue of Liberty’s enormity.


When you say “bemused” it sounds a lot like amused, so you may think you are amused when actually- you are confused! Bemused means- confused.
So no, you were not bemused by that joke!


When you say “something is redundant”, you think you’re saying that something is repetitive, that it repeats itself for no real reason and that it provides you with all the same information. Yes, like that. But not really- redundant is something that was made obsolete by something else, that something is no longer needed. For example, the invention of the vehicle made the carters redundant.
So no, he is not made redundant for telling the same stories over and over again.


When you say “the evening felt like an allusion”, you think you’re saying that the evening felt like it was taken from a fairytale, that it was absolutely unreal. But you’re not, really. What you are saying is that the evening was an indirect metaphor, referencing another evening. The word you are looking for is illusion!
So no, the evening was not an allusion.


When you say that she “flouts her body”, you think you mean that she’s sowing it off. But what you actually mean is that she breaks it like they break the law..? Yea, that’s a bit weird. You probably mean “flaunt”.
So no, they did not flout their good grades!



When you say that “a hoard lined up in front of the Apple store to by the iPhone 5” you think you’re saying that there were millions of people in line to buy the iPhone 5, but what you’re really saying is that many stores and accumulations of things were out to buy the device…? Less cool. Horde is the word you’re looking for.
So no, a hoard of guys was not lined up to date her!


When you say “something is ironical”, you think you mean that something was the complete opposite from what you expected, when actually- you’re not saying a thing- ironical is not even a word. The word you want to use is ironic!
So no, having a bird shit on you a second after you said a bird never shat on you- is not ironical. It’s ironic.


When you use the word “literally” to stress your point, in most cases you’re just being funny. “He literally broke her heart” would mean that this guy, literally took her heart out and broke it, really broke it- like real life broke it. The word you’re looking for is actually “figuratively”.
So no, he didn’t, literally, blow her head up with his screaming!


But hey, we all make mistakes right?


About Author

Victoria Sheinkin is a writer, content editor, translator and chief editor for UnusedWords.com. Speaking three and a half languages, she holds two BAs from the Tel Aviv university- Communication and jounalism, English literature and linguistics.

  • Mordistoj Kredu

    Are “terrific” and “literally” really misused? I would have assumed that most people know what those actually mean.
    Anyway, interesting special. Especially redundant… I used to say “repetitive” simply because it felt more intuitive (I’m German and we have basically the same word, just without the last ‘e’) and kind of forced myself to say redundant instead after realizing that it is – apparently – much more common. No I have to reprogram my brain again ^^
    Also, “allusion” – never even heard that word before!

    • Viki Sheinkin

      Visit our site and learn so many words, you wouldn’t know what to do with them 🙂

    • Casey

      I consider myself well-spoken, and I misuse “terrific” all the time. People are so accustomed to terrific meaning something great that they would be confused if you used it correctly. As for “literally,” I have a friend who uses literally when she means figuratively in almost every conversation we have. I always correct her, but she still does it.

  • bmarkovic

    Definition of redundant given here is really wrong. Something is not redundant ONLY when it’s replaced by something better. Redundant also means superflouos or simply there is more of it than we might need. In engineering, redundancy is (sometimes) good: I.e. we have redundant power supplies just in case more than one misbehaves.

    Also “literally” is literally a hyperbole used as part of a slang or common language (as in non-standard “language of the commons”), and “terrific” is a terrific example of another stylistic feature that usually starts as slang and then creeps up into common language: auto-antonym.

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Definition: inability to experience pleasure or joy Pronunciation: en-hi-DO-nia