1. Irony

  What you think it means: Something that is funny. 你认为单词的含义是:滑稽的事。

  What it really means: Contrary to what you are expecting.单词的真正含义是:事与愿违的。 This is a famous one because so many people get this wrong so often. It’s also kind of hard to explain, so we’ll use an example. The Titanic was boasted about as being 100% unsinkable and then in 1912 it was sunk anyway. That is what is called cosmic irony. When a starving vegetarian eats a pepperoni pizza, that is what is called situational irony.


  There are other kinds too, such as dramatic irony and Socratic irony. Believe it or not, sarcasm is actually irony. When you say something sarcastically, your tone and your words mean two opposite things. That is ironic. Irony can be funny but not everything funny is irony.


  2. Travesty

  What you think it means: A tragedy or something unfortunate. 你认为单词的含义是:悲剧或不幸的事。

  What it really means: A mockery or parody. 单词的真正含义是:拙劣的模仿或恶搞。 This is another one that people have wrong fairly frequently. You've heard people call 9/11 a travesty. Truth be told 9/11 was a tragedy. A travesty is actually a mockery or a parody. One might say that a Weird Al Yankovic album is a travesty. With how often this word is associated with tragedy, we wouldn't be shocked if that definition were eventually added as an acceptable meaning. Until then, it doesn't mean anything bad happened.


  3. Ultimate

  What you think it means: The one, the only. The best. 你认为单词的含义是:某个,唯一的,最好的。

  What it really means: The last item of a list. 单词的真正含义是:列表中的最后一项。 Some people do actually use this one properly. You may see someone list off a bunch of things and hear them say, “Okay, at the store we need eggs, milk, juice, and ultimately, butter.” That is actually the proper use of ultimate. There is no other context or added context. It simply means the last one.


  4. Conversate

  What you think it means: To have a conversation. 你认为单词的含义是:进行交谈。

  What it really means: Nothing. 单词的真正含义是:压根没有这个词。 Conversate actually doesn’t exist and I’ll prove it to you. Go into a program that underlines words with red if they’re spelled wrong. Now type out conversate. Did you see the red line? Conversate was meant to be a mixture of conversation and converse and be used as a verb. However, converse is a verb and there really isn’t a need for a second verb to describe the same action.


  5. Peruse

  What you think it means: To skim or browse. 你认为单词的含义是:略读或浏览。

  What it really means: To observe in depth. 单词的真正含义是:深入观察。 When you peruse something, you are actually taking a very close look at it. When you're at a record store and you're just running through a stack of records, you are just browsing. If you pick up a record and look at the artist, track list, and additional information on the back, then your are perusing.


  6. Bemused

  What you think it means: Amused. 你认为单词的含义是:愉快的。

  What it really means: Confused. 单词的真正含义是:困惑的。 This is one of the many words on this list that will make you strongly dislike the English language. Despite looking all but identical to the word amused, bemused doesn't even come close to meaning the same thing. If you are bemused then you are actually confused.


  7. Compelled

  What you think it means: To do something voluntarily by choice. 你认为单词的含义是:志愿选择做某事。

  What it really means: To be forced or obligated to doing something. 单词的真正含义是:被迫或有义务做某事。 This is one that people get wrong and it's rather understandable. The real definition is very close to the definition people generally use. The difference is the motivation. When people say compelled, they think the person wants to perform the action. In fact, they are forced to do it regardless of their personal feelings. Here's an example. When you're in court, you are compelled to give honest testimony. You may not want to, but it doesn't matter because you have to.


  8. Nauseous

  What you think it means: To feel ill. 你认为单词的含义是:感觉不舒服。

  What it really means: To cause feelings of illness. 单词的真正含义是:令人不舒服的。 This is another understandable mishap that a lot of people make. If you actually feel sick then you are nauseated. The object that made you feel ill is nauseous. Here’s how this works. If you're at an amusement park and you’re sitting next to a full trash can, the fumes from the trash may make you feel ill. That means the fumes from the trash can are nauseous because they are making you feel nauseated.


  9. Redundant

  What you think it means: Repetitive. 你认为单词的含义是:重复的。

  What it really means: Unnecessarily excessive. 单词的真正含义是:过剩的。 This one is tough because you can use it wrong but unintentionally use it right. When you repeat something a bunch of times, it can become redundant, but redundant expands far beyond just repeating things over and over. A popular thing companies are doing now is firing people but instead of calling it “getting fired,” they call it “eliminating redundancies.” The premise being that the employee they’re firing is unnecessary and excessive and they are thus eliminating them. In pretty much any scenario where there is simply too much of something, it is redundant.


  10. Enormity

  What you think it means: Huge, enormous. 你认为单词的含义是:巨大的,庞大的。

  What it really means: Profoundly immoral or evil. 单词的真正含义是:极其不道德的或邪恶的。 Don't beat yourself up over this one because no one knows this one off the top of their head. Enormity sounds like enormous and as with many of our other examples, here we expect words that sound alike to have similar meanings. Enormity simply means really evil. An example of how to use it is the following: “The enormity of the crimes committed by the Nazis in World War II.” It doesn't mean the enormous crimes, it means the heinous crimes.


  11. Terrific

  What you think it means: Fantastic, good. 你认为单词的含义是:妙极了,极好的。

  What it really means: Horrific, to inspire fear. 单词的真正含义是:可怖的,令人害怕的。 This is another one that we expect will be changed in the dictionary eventually because barely anyone uses the real meaning anymore. When people say they feel terrific, they mean to say they feel fantastic. An example of something terrific is King Kong. You see a giant monster and it inspires fear. We're going to loop awesome in with this one too. Awesome simply means to inspire awe and people often use it to describe something really good.


  12. Disinterested

  What you think it means: Bored. 你以为单词的含义是:无趣的。

  What it really means: Neutral. 单词的真正含义是:中立的。 A good way to remember this one is that there is a word that means bored and it's uninterested. If you're uninterested, you're bored. Being disinterested is the long-form equivalent of stating that you don't care about something.


  13. Irregardless

  What you think it means: Without regard. 你以为单词的含义是:不管怎样。

  What it really means: Nothing. 单词的真正含义是:它也是不存在的。 Like conversate above, irregardless isn't actually a word. When people say irregardless, they actually mean to say regardless. Regardless means without regard. Irregardless has been used so often that it actually is in the dictionary now and that's kind of sad. Even though it is technically there, there are a large number of people who don't consider it a word. You can save yourself a couple of keystrokes and a tongue lashing by just using regardless.