Wednesday, January 18, 2006

misunderstood

For the longest time I believed that "approximately" meant exactly. I mean, whenever someone uses the word approximately, they get really specific. It was approximately 4.568 meters long. It weighed approximately 47,895 pounds. It is approximately 27 stories tall.

Being that most of my knowledge is gleamed from context, you can see my dilemma. And my shock when I discovered that approximately meant almost exact or correct, very similar. Almost?!?! I mean, if you are going to be kinda close couldn't you round it up or down a bit? Bastards.

Anyhoo, today I had another misinterpretation blown away. Moot. As in, oh, we don't even need to discuss bridget drinking, which is a moot point. As in not even worth discussing. In other words, because the conclusion can be assumed, as it is understood.

Dead wrong.

Moot - In Old English, mot meant "meeting," particularly a formal get-together by citizens to deal with legal issues. Its roots are shared with the modern English word "meeting." In legal use, "moot" shifted use in the 1600s to refer to a point of discussion, particularly one that as open to debate.

Good thing my sister got me that word origin calendar, as you all get to share in my newfound tidbits of knowledge.

Since approximately 11.7% of my language has been acquired from context while reading, I suppose whether or not I should start looking words I don't immediately recognize up in a dictionary is a moot point.

Bwa ha ha.

1 comment:

shirley said...

i was astounded to find out that ambivalent meant that you were strongly pulled towards 2 different extremes. i always thought that ambivalent meant you didn't care one way or the other. i guess it's a moot point.