Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Improper Poll: Word Nerdisms

Okay, I admit it. This might well be an Old Lady Thing—and a crotchety Old Lady Thing at that. But lots and lots of people mispronounce certain words, and then it makes everyone else think they’re mispronounced, so everyone else does it, too. But does that make it right? In the case of language, yes. When enough people mispronounce something, that eventually becomes the accepted pronunciation. So that just confuses things more.

The current one that I keep hearing is “pedophile.” When I first read the word, I looked it up. According to my beloved Webster, it is correctly pronounced with a long e: pee-duh-fahyl. And it makes sense. We take our children to the pee-dee-uh-tri-shun. Yes, “pee-duh-fahyl” sounds a bit…icky…but let’s face it, it’s an icky thing. So why am I the only person in the world who isn’t pronouncing it like the root word has something to do with feet?

Do you have a word that you keep hearing people mispronounce?


  1. "Li-berry" instead of library.

    "Ax" instead of ask.

    And this is not a mispronounciation, but it bugs the PEE (as in pedophile) out of me because I think, 'This is not a word' but it's being used so much, at some point it WILL be a word.

    Conversate. Isn't this a case of people trying to sound more sophisticated, so they wiggle an extra syllable into "converse" to make them seem more intelligent?

    Miss Grammar, please help.

  2. Don't the British use pee-duh-fahyl? Perhaps they're trying to make up for saying al-u-min-i-um for aluminum.

    I'm not happy with the extra syllable added to mischievous. I'm tired of hearing about dogs getting spaded. And even Google encourages misuse by popping up "prostate" first when one clearly types in PROSTRATE DEFINITION.

  3. Oh, yes, "prostrate cancer" must be for people lying down all the time.
    I hate to hear "Feb-you-ary", and I have a sister who wants to appear intelligent by saying, "Isn't that just A-typical?" instead of "typical". Fortunately, I seldom have to listen to her.
    However, I'm afraid I do mispronounce pedophile, and whether that is my fault, I don't know. I've never heard it pronounced with a long E, and with a short E does sound like someone with a foot fetish.
    I'll have to give it a re-think.

  4. I've been in law enforcement for years and have to admit I've never, ever heard pedophile pronounced with the long "e" sound. It does make sense to pronounce it that way, though. Today I think I'll shake things up at work.

    Critter Alley

  5. There is a home improvement commercial on the readio station I listen to coming home. This guy says, "Hey, SANT Louis..." It is SAINT and so I turn him off. And while I'm at it, it is Missouri (long E at the end) not MissourUH.

  6. Cavalry and Calvary get mixed up all the time, and it drives me nuts. Also -- misuse drives me crazy. I do medical transcription part time and one of the doctors always says "In lieu of this," in the context of "because of this," which of course is WRONG, and it irks me because I have to type it anyway! Grr. That isn't his only misuse of a word. I wish I could fix his sentences for him!

  7. I'm scared. I wonder what I might be saying wrong or is that incorrect? DUR.


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