After stuffing themselves on turkey and dressing yesterday on Thanksgiving, I bet some of your relatives headed for the couch and said they felt nauseous.
Many people think nauseous means to feel sick. It actually means to cause nausea. So when people say they are nauseous, what they’re really saying is that they’re causing people around them to feel sick. Which, depending on your birth order or other factors, may be much more accurate in your family dynamic. But when you’re commenting on the state of your own digestive system, you should say, “I feel nauseated.”
Another commonly misused word is peruse. As I did for years, you might think peruse means to skim or glance over something. It actually means to review something carefully or in-depth. In other words, the perceived definition is actually opposite of the true definition.
Here’s one more before I go get a turkey sandwich for breakfast. Some people think bemused means amused or slightly tickled about something. What it really means is confused.
What other incidents of word confusion have you heard at your Thanksgiving table or elsewhere?