Dagnabit, words are *important*
I read fic, and when I read fic other than fic written by a very small number of authors I trust, I tend to find pairs of words where the author has confused two different words, and completely bollixed up the meaning of their sentence. So I decided to collect these word pairs, and clarify some things.
Here's today's list:
descent · n. 1 the action of descending. Ø a downward slope. 2 a person’s origin or nationality: the settlers were of Cornish descent. Ø transmission by inheritance. 3 (descent on) a sudden violent attack. – ORIGIN ME: from OFr. descente, from descendre (see descend).
decent · adj. 1 conforming with generally accepted standards of morality or respectability. 2 of an acceptable or appropriate standard; satisfactory. Ø Brit. informal obliging or generous: that’s very decent of you. – DERIVATIVES decently adv. – ORIGIN C16: from L. decent-, decere ‘to be fit’.
A "descent guy" would probably be a specialist at going down mountains.
taught past and past participle of teach.
taut · adj. 1 stretched or pulled tight. Ø (of muscles or nerves) tense. 2 (of writing, music, etc.) concise and controlled. 3 (of a ship) having a disciplined crew. – DERIVATIVES tauten v. tautly adv. tautness n. – ORIGIN ME tought ‘distended’, perh. from tough.
taunt · n. a jeering or mocking remark made in order to wound or provoke. · v. provoke or wound with taunts. – DERIVATIVES taunter n. taunting adj. tauntingly adv. – ORIGIN C16: from Fr. tant pour tant ‘like for like, tit for tat’, from tant ‘so much’, from L. tantus.
Those muscles are taut. The rude comments about them are taunts. You should have been taught the difference between the two.
excite · v. 1 cause strong feelings of enthusiasm and eagerness in. Ø arouse (someone) sexually. 2 give rise to (a feeling or reaction). 3 produce a state of increased energy or activity in (a physical or biological system). – DERIVATIVES excitation n. (chiefly technical). excitative adj. (rare). excitatory adj. (chiefly Physiology). excited adj. excitedly adv. excitement n. exciter n. exciting adj. excitingly adv. excitingness n. – ORIGIN ME (in the sense ‘incite someone to do something’): from OFr. exciter or L. excitare, frequentative of exciere ‘call out’.
exit · n. 1 a way out of a building, room, or passenger vehicle. Ø a place for traffic to leave a major road or roundabout. 2 an act of leaving. Ø a departure of an actor from the stage. 3 poetic/literary a person’s death. · v. (exited, exiting) 1 go out of or leave a place. Ø (of an actor) leave the stage. Ø (exit) (as a stage direction) indicating that a character leaves the stage: exit Pamela. 2 poetic/literary die. 3 Computing terminate a process or program. 4 Bridge relinquish the lead. – ORIGIN C16: from L. exit ‘he or she goes out’, third person sing. pres. tense of exire, from ex- ‘out’ + ire ‘go’.
If I were in the midst of arousal and discovered my partner was exited, I'd be massively annoyed. They could have at least mentioned something before they left.
thwart /TwO;t/ · v. prevent from succeeding in or accomplishing something. · n. a structural crosspiece forming a seat for a rower in a boat. · prep. & adv. archaic or poetic/literary from one side to another side of; across. – ORIGIN ME thwerte, from thwert ‘perverse, obstinate, adverse’, from ON thvert, neut. of thverr ‘transverse’.
This one was used as part of "thwarting young minds". I have no idea what the writer was thinking of.
purpose · n. 1 the reason for which something is done or for which something exists. 2 resolve or determination. · v. formal have as one’s objective. – PHRASES on purpose intentionally. to the purpose relevant or useful. – DERIVATIVES purposeless adj. purposelessly adv. purposelessness n. – ORIGIN ME: from OFr. porpos, from porposer, var. of proposer (see propose).
Note all the bolded words there: not *one* of them has a letter "d" in there. If I see "purposed" once more, I'm likely to give up on shrieking in annoyance and just move on to evisceration.
loose /lu;s/ · adj. 1 not firmly or tightly fixed in place. Ø not held, tied or packaged together. Ø not bound or tethered. Ø (of the ball in a game) in play but not in any player’s possession. 2 not fitting tightly or closely. 3 relaxed; physically slack. Ø not strict or exact. Ø careless and indiscreet: loose talk. Ø dated promiscuous; immoral. 4 not dense or compact. Ø (of play, especially in rugby) with the players far apart. · n. (the loose) Rugby loose play. · v. 1 set free. Ø untie; unfasten. Ø relax (one’s grip). 2 (usu. loose something off) discharge; fire. – PHRASES hang loose informal, chiefly N. Amer. be relaxed. on the loose having escaped from confinement. – DERIVATIVES loosely adv. looseness n. – ORIGIN ME loos ‘free from bonds’, from ON lauss, of Gmc origin.
lose /lu;z/ · v. (past and past part. lost) 1 be deprived of or cease to have or retain. Ø be deprived of (a relative or friend) through their death. Ø (of a pregnant woman) miscarry (a baby). Ø (be lost) be destroyed or killed. Ø decrease in (body weight). Ø (of a clock) become slow by (a specified amount of time). Ø (lose it) informal lose control of one’s temper or emotions. 2 become unable to find. Ø evade or shake off (a pursuer). Ø N. Amer. informal get rid of. Ø (lose oneself in/be lost in) be or become deeply absorbed in. 3 fail to win. 4 earn less (money) than one is spending. 5 waste or fail to take advantage of: he may have lost his chance. 6 (lose out) be disadvantaged. – PHRASES lose face lose one’s credibility. lose heart become discouraged. lose one’s mind (or marbles) informal go insane. lose one’s (or the) way become lost. – ORIGIN OE losian ‘perish, destroy’, also ‘become unable to find’, from los ‘loss’.
quite · adv. 1 absolutely; completely. Ø US very; really. 2 fairly; moderately. 3 W. Indian all the way. · exclam. (also quite so) expressing agreement. – PHRASES quite a —— a remarkable or impressive (person or thing). quite a lot (or a bit) a considerable number or amount. quite some a considerable amount of. – ORIGIN ME: from the obs. adj. quite, var. of quit.
quiet · adj. (quieter, quietest) 1 making little or no noise. Ø free from activity, disturbance, or excitement. Ø undisturbed; uninterrupted. 2 discreet, moderate, or restrained. Ø (of a person) tranquil and reserved. Ø (of a colour or garment) unobtrusive. · n. silence; calm. · v. chiefly N. Amer. make or become quiet. – PHRASES keep quiet refrain from speaking or revealing a secret. keep something quiet keep something secret. on the quiet informal secretly or unobtrusively. – DERIVATIVES quieten v. quietly adv. quietness n. – ORIGIN ME (as n. denoting peace as opposed to war): via OFr., based on L. quies, quiet- ‘repose, quiet’.
Just because the spell check says you have the letters in the right order, don't be so certain it's the correct word. Check the damn meaning too.