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July 13, 2007


Sandi Solow

I'd like to add premiere/premier to the list of misused words. They're not interchangeable, yet I see this mistake made commonly. Reminds me of Dan Quayle and the potatoe incident.


Please add to the list "insure" and "ensure."


Would you believe people commonly misuse "lose" and "loose"? It's just sad.


Re : Squashing a rebellion.

Hi Dan, I'm happy to find your blog. My pet beefs are"pacific" and "specific" and especially "phased" and "fazed" (as in "he was not fazed by the judge's ruling to quash the lower court's decision."

As regards quash/squash. I'm from a NZ/UK background, and to me your example of "squashing a rebellion" feels wrong.

I would expect a rebellion to be quashed (by the police, or whomever).

I would use "squashing" in this context as a metaphor. I get an image of a big cartoon foot descending on the protestors a la Monty Python. If police squashed a rebellion, I get images of brutality!

That said, the (US English) dictionary which comes with my laptop does have, as an alternate definition "to put an end to by force, quash". So squash can be a synonym for quash, at least in the US.

I wouldn't use that listing myself though in the UK or NZ. But that may be just a personal style point.

Thanks for your blog.




Surely the fuse in defuse is as in the burning part leading to a bomb or firework, rather than an electical device to prevent overload? Otherwise, defuse would mean to take the safety mechanism out and let something run unchecked, rather than to take away the danger of it metaphorically exploding and damaging things.

Another pair for your list, from our Australian cousins: buffalo / bison. The difference being you can't wash your hands in a buffalo. (you have to do the accent)


I would like to know what the word is when someone expects things of you. I am familiar with the word "pretentious", but I was looking for something a little less harsh.

Thanks - great idea for a blog.


John Taylor-Johnston

You know Paul Heacock put this all in a book once?

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