Say Whaaaaat?
October 13, 2013

Say Whaaaaat?

The other day I was on Facebook just sending messages and checking in with friends, when I noticed a post from a pal on my newsfeed. It was a link to a BuzzFeed page about misused and made-up words. I so enjoyed it that I thought I would share it here with redOrbit readers and explain each from the perspective of an English professor. The BuzzFeed page has some amusing visuals to go with the words, so check that out. Here, I will just list and explain them.

1) Irregardless

The first word (or should I say non-word) on the page is irregardless. We hear this word all of the time, and perhaps many of us are guilty of using it, but the short of it all is that it is not a word.  Regardless means to not pay attention to or in spite of the circumstances, so to say irregardless is redundant.

2) Supposably

If irregardless is a non-word, then supposably is a completely made up one. A speaker could almost make the case for irregardless (almost but not really); however, no case can be made for supposably except that one mispronounced supposedly. Every time a student has used or said supposably it has been when they meant supposedly. Perhaps supposably is easier to say, but, sadly, it is not a word.

3) Flustrated

Nothing frustrates me more than when someone says flustrated when meaning frustrated. People cannot marry flustered and frustrated so that they are flustrated. That is a bit of overkill, don’t you think?

4) Conversate

Yeah, it seems like a good way to turn the noun conversation into a verb, but the real word is converse.

5) That’s so random.

Right so, this is actually a group of words, yet it still fits the category of misused. Often people use this to mean weird or goofy, but random actually means without method.

6) Sherbert

There is only one r in the word, and it’s the first one.

7) I could care less

This actually means that one cares at least a little, teeny bit. The correct way to say it is “I couldn’t care less.”

8) For all intensive purposes

I have to admit, I have not often heard this phrase, but apparently it is a thing. The right way to pronounce it is “for all intents and purposes.”

9) Announciate

This also has eluded my experience, but I can definitely hear it happening. As BuzzFeed explains, “Please enunciate when you make up words. Or even annunciate. Certainly don’t announciate.

10) Foilage

This is a word I hear living in Oklahoma all of the time. Most of the time, I assume it happens due to the Okie accent, but I am sure that sometimes it is a result of just misuse of foliage, where the i is before the a and after the l.

11) Expresso

Whenever I hear this, I get this image of espresso divorcing a barista. You know, like an ex-presso. Really, though, there is no X in the word for the tasty, little coffee.

12) I’m nauseous

Some people might cause nausea, which is what nauseous means, but it’s likely that we mean we feel sick, which would require us to say, “I’m nauseated.”

13) Precedent when pronounced president.

So, I can totally understand how this might happen EXCEPT the c never sounds like a z in American English, or any other English as far as I know.

14) Misunderestimate

Okay, I just have to laugh at this one. This is hyperbole to the extreme. Misestimate, underestimate, and misunderstand are all good enough. They get the point across. There’s no need to smush them together.

15) Vice-a versa

Yeah, so the phrase is vice versa with no a in the middle.

16) Whole nother

This little colloquialism is super easy to fix. Use either another or whole other. Nother just is not a word.

17) Meme when pronounced me-me

BuzzFeed said it best: “It’s meme, like scream. As in, say “me-me” out loud and watch your coworkers scream.”

I’d like to add a couple to this list from my own personal experience.

18) Take it for granite

I don’t know about you, but I’m not taking granite anywhere. That stuff is heavy. I just might take it for granted, though.

19) Fixin’ ta

Most people get ready to go or prepare to leave, but some of us just are fixin’ ta get outta here. It’s a thing, you know.

And here is one that my boyfriend recently encountered:

20) Overbese

Yeah, when someone is so fat that overweight and obese don’t cut it, well, that person is just overbese.

We hear most of these colloquialisms, misuses, and mispronunciations on a regular basis. Heck, we just might say them on occasion. Here, though, is a friendly reminder of just how to fix our speaking goofs. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m flustrated and fixin’ ta get some sherbert cause that’s just so random!

Image Credit: iQoncept / Shutterstock

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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