Got Nothin’

Dictionary, Shmictionary

Time to confess: tell us about a time when you used a word whose meaning you didn’t actually know (or were very wrong about, in retrospect).


Honestly, I can’t think of any time I’ve ever done this.  I’m sure it’s happened. I mean, no one is exempt. I just can’t think of anything, nothing at all.

There is a time I remember when I mispronounced a word, which is about as close as I can come to fulfilling this prompt.  I was teaching English, and we were doing a vocabulary review in preparation for a vocab/spelling test.  The word in question was exacerbate. I don’t know if I’d always heard it pronounced incorrectly or if I just assumed incorrectly, but I didn’t check the pronunciation and I said exaKerbate. A brave student raised his hand, very respectfully said, “Mrs. K, the book says it’s exaSerbate.”

Well, there’s only one smart thing to do when you’re caught. You admit it, you make a joke at your own expense, and you thank the student for pointing out your error. All of which I did.

And I’ve never forgotten how to pronounce exacerbate 🙂

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