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  • Bill Chastain

TOYS AND GAMES: Three Misused Words That Drive Me Crazy!

I’m ripe for mistakes just as much as the next guy, particularly when I write a blog without an editor, so I’m not one to get up on the soapbox. Still, there are three misused words that drive me crazy.

Take prototype. TV people butcher this one on a consistent basis. An announcer will say, “Jack Feelgood is the prototypical tight end” or “Sammy Touchdown is a prototypical linebacker.” A prototype is unique, thus “stereotypical” is the word they are looking for but never seem to find when describing these players.


Using “cement” to describe “concrete.” Cement is an ingredient used to make concrete, which is an aggregate that also includes water, sand, and rock.

Finally, there’s the misuse of the abstract noun “notoriety” of which “notorious” is the corresponding adjective.

“Famous” is all about being honored for achievement. So when an announcer says, “Jack Football received a lot of notoriety for his charity work” he or she is saying just the opposite. Though “notorious” once served as a term for “widely known” the word has evolved to a word of condemnation.

That’s all I got.

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