Word surprises


Were you ever certain that a word was pronounced or spelled a certain way, only to find out, with great surprise and after many years of error, that you were wrong all along? Three such words come to mind for me. The word barbiturate does indeed have a second “r” in it. Ever since I first heard the word in the early seventies, I was sure it was “barbituate.” Another word with a troublesome “r” that only recently enlightened me is infraction. An infraction is an offense that you might get a ticket for, like a traffic violation. However, people who have heart attacks do not have “myocardial infractions,” as I always thought. The correct term is “myocardial infarction.” Yes, it sounds funny to those of us not in the medical field, and it is totally unrelated to the word infraction. Lastly, when you are thankful for something you are grateful, not greatful.  While greatful would seem to make more sense, there is actually an obsolete word, grate, that means pleasing or acceptable, which is where grateful comes from.

Did any of those words surprise you, or were they just my special stumbling blocks? What are yours?


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