This being Thursday, I thought I’d return to the dictionary and language theme. I was thinking this week how some English words are easily used in place of other, less familiar words, and, how some English words are easily transposed by even a single letter. Indeed, some words that change in this way become their opposites.
For example, intending to write the word “friend”, but forgetting the “r”, the word becomes “fiend”. Now fiend does not exactly mean enemy, but a fiend isn’t someone with whom you’d want to share a hug.
I do this kind of transposition all the time in speech, sometimes to the hilarious entertainment of my friends and family. “No, no, no. Wait, that’s not what I meant”, I say, but it’s too late. It’s like writing with indelible (or inedible) ink. One’s words cannot be retracted. Maybe that’s why I prefer writing, and perhaps why, if I give a speech, a sermon, or some minor talk, I like to use a manuscript.
Along those lines of mispronunciation and misuse (and malpropisms), I offer you this link to a forgotten part of the English alphabet.
What words do you have trouble with like this, or what words do you see misappropriated in humorous or embarrassing ways?