I am a trivia nerd. I competed in Knowledge Bowl (think pub quiz without beer) for years. I am a connoisseur of random factoids from all over the place. I forget lyrics to songs I’ve heard thousands of times. I forget lyrics to songs I’ve written. It is often embarrassing. I am trying to embrace it as part of my charm. At least, that is what I tell myself.

This week’s Wondrous Words is an ode to commonly misused words and the people who love them.


A word or phrase resulting from a mishearing of another word or phrase, especially in a song or poem.

A word or phrase that is a seemingly logical alteration of another word or phrase that sounds similar and has been misheard or misinterpreted, such as ‘old wise tale’ for ‘old wives’ tale’.

  1. an act or habit of misusing words ridiculously, especially by the confusion of words that are similar in sound.
  2. an instance of this, as in “Lead the way and we’ll precede.”


  1. remaining within; indwelling; inherent.
  2. Philosophy (of a mental act) taking place within the mind of the subject and having no effect outside of it.
  • Eminent [em-uh-nuh nt] – Adjective
  1. high in station, rank, or repute; prominent; distinguished: eminent statesmen.
  2. conspicuous, signal, or noteworthy: eminent fairness.
  3. lofty; high: eminent peaks.
  4. prominent; projecting; protruding: an eminent nose.

Neither of which are to be confused with imminent [imuh-nuh nt] – Adjective – which means “about to happen.”


  • Faint [feynt] – Adjective, fainter, faintest.
  1.  lacking brightness, vividness, clearness, loudness,strength, etc.: a faint light; a faint color; a faint sound.
  2. feeble or slight: faint resistance; faint praise; a faint resemblance.
  3. feeling weak, dizzy, or exhausted; about to lose consciousness: faint with hunger.
  4. lacking courage; cowardly; timorous: Faint heart never won fair maid.
  5. Law. unfounded: a faint action.
  • Feint [feynt] – Noun
  1. a movement made in order to deceive an adversary; an attack aimed at one place or point merely as a distraction from the real place or point of attack: military feints; the feints of a skilled fencer.
  2. a feigned or assumed appearance: His air of approval was a feint to conceal his real motives.

Verb (used without object)

  1. to make a feint.

Verb (used with object)

  1. to make a feint at; deceive with a feint.
  2. to make a false show of; simulate.


  1. standing still; not moving.
  2. having a fixed position; not movable.
  3. established in one place; not itinerant or migratory.
  4. remaining in the same condition or state; not changing: The market price has remained stationary for a week.
  1. writing paper.
  2. writing materials, as pens, pencils, paper, and envelopes.


  1. the city or town that is the official seat of government in a country, state, etc.: Tokyo is the capital of Japan.
  2. a city regarded as being of special eminence in some field of activity: New York is the dance capital of the world.
  3. capital letter.
  4. the wealth, whether in money or property, owned or employed in business by an individual, firm,corporation, etc.
  5. an accumulated stock of such wealth.
  6. any form of wealth employed or capable of being employed in the production of more wealth.
  7. Accounting.
    1. assets remaining after deduction of liabilities;the net worth of a business.
    2. the ownership interest in a business.
  1. the building in Washington, D.C., used by the Congress of the U.S. for its sessions.
  2. (often lowercase) a building occupied by a state legislature.
  3. the ancient temple of Jupiter at Rome, on the Capitoline.
  4. the Capitoline.


  • Insure [in-shoo r, –shur] – Verb (used with or without object), insured, insuring.
  1. To guarantee against loss or harm.
  2. 2. to secure indemnity to or on, in case of loss,damage, or death.
  3. to issue or procure an insurance policy on or for.
  • Ensure [en-shoo r, –shur] – Verb (used with object), ensured, ensuring.
  1. to secure or guarantee: This letter will ensure you a hearing.
  2. to make sure or certain: measures to ensure the success of an undertaking.
  3. to make secure or safe, as from harm.


  • Insolate [in-soh-leyt] – Verb (used with object), insolated, insolating.
  1. to expose to the sun’s rays; treat by exposure to the sun’s rays.
  • Insulate [in-suh-leyt, ins-yuh-leyt] – Verb (used with object), insulated, insulating.
  1. to cover, line, or separate with a material that prevents or reduces the passage, transfer, or leakage of heat, electricity, or sound: to insulate an electric wire with a rubber sheath;to insulate a coat with down.
  2.  to place in an isolated situation or condition; segregate.


  • Accept [ak-sept]- Verb (used with object)
  1. to take or receive (something offered); receive with approval or favor: to accept a present; to accept a proposal.
  2. to agree or consent to; accede to: to accept a treaty; to accept an apology.
  3. to respond or answer affirmatively to: to accept an invitation.
  • Except [ik-sept] – Preposition
  1. with the exclusion of; excluding; save; but: They were all there except me.


  1. only; with the exception (usually followed by that): parallel cases except that one is younger than the other.
  2. otherwise than; but (followed by an adv., phrase, or clause): well fortified except here.


Jerusha Gray

Jerusha Gray is insatiably curious. This curiosity, coupled with a brain that never shuts up, drives her to paint and draw, read prodigiously, make music, write, and sing in grocery stores.


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