flyingturtle
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Words That Have Lost Their Sense

Fri Nov 02, 2012 8:55 am

Hiho,


I recently wondered about a word in German, "eigentlich". It means

actually, in fact, intrinsically, inherent, literal.

Not quite an easy word to translate. But the key words are "intrinsically" and "inherent". By "eigentlich", you mean an attribute that defines something and makes it stand out.

"Eigentlich bin ich ein netter Mensch" – I would translate it as "Being a nice human being is the core of my personality".


But in the everyday language, the word "eigentlich" is most often used as a fill word, just to stress a point that isn't there. You don't refer to any intrinsic value anymore.


Do you know of words we often use, but don't carry any meaning whatsoever?



David
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DarkSnowyNight
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RE: Words That Have Lost Their Sense

Fri Nov 02, 2012 1:35 pm

Literally.



That one is like a steering wheel in a pirate's pants... Drives me Nuts.
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dc9northwest
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RE: Words That Have Lost Their Sense

Fri Nov 02, 2012 2:57 pm

Like.

In America, "like" doesn't mean "enjoy". It doesn't even invoke a simile. In 99% of cases, it just makes the speaker appear stupid.
 
Quokkas
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RE: Words That Have Lost Their Sense

Fri Nov 02, 2012 3:17 pm

"You know"

If I know, why are you bothering to tell me?

"You know" is liberally peppered in speech to mask the fact that the speaker is desperately thinking of what to say next, usually in response to an inane question. Most commonly used by people in the sport industry after the conclusion of a game of something.

Interviewer with microphone in hand: "Well Ben, it was a close contest. What swung the game around for you?"

Football player: "Well, you know, at half time we were three points behind, you know and you know we saw an opening, you know..."
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Stratofish
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RE: Words That Have Lost Their Sense

Fri Nov 02, 2012 5:39 pm

Quoting flyingturtle (Thread starter):
"Eigentlich bin ich ein netter Mensch" – I would translate it as "Being a nice human being is the core of my personality".

In most parts of Germany that would translate into: "Normally / Actually I am a kind person."
You would probably only ever use it after you smacked the dumb intern, though. (I do NOT condone such behaviour   )
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Airport
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RE: Words That Have Lost Their Sense

Fri Nov 02, 2012 6:41 pm

Epic.

Here's a simply great NSFW explanation: http://thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=epic
 
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Aesma
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RE: Words That Have Lost Their Sense

Fri Nov 02, 2012 8:31 pm

Most insults/expletives have lost their original meaning.

For example "merde (shit) !" doesn't you make think about excrement when you hear it. "Putain !" (whore) doesn't make you think about a prostitute. Both would still be used as originally meant in the right context, though, so our brain has a really funny way of working.

Not sure if on topic but one that gets to me is "comment vas-tu ?" (how are you doing ?) in the morning at school/work. People ask this but don't want a straight answer, they always expect that you'll answer fine/good/well.
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flyingturtle
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RE: Words That Have Lost Their Sense

Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:44 pm

Quoting Darksnowynight (Reply 1):
http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/literally.png

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 2):

Hm, I use "like" honestly. If I do like something, then... I like it. 
Quoting Quokkas (Reply 3):
Football player: "Well, you know, at half time we were three points behind, you know and you know we saw an opening, you know..."

  

We all know that footballers aren't exactly bright...  
Quoting Stratofish (Reply 4):
after you smacked the dumb intern, though.

 
Quoting Airport (Reply 5):

That's great, not NSFW!

Quoting Aesma (Reply 6):

Here, I feel remembered of "nice". Its obsolete meaning is "wanton" and "dissolute".  


I'll search for other words...


David
Keeping calm is terrorism against those who want to live in fear.
 
AeroWesty
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RE: Words That Have Lost Their Sense

Sat Nov 03, 2012 1:09 am

Quoting Airport (Reply 5):
Here's a simply great NSFW explanation: http://thebestpageintheuniverse.net/...=epic

O n0ze! I read this without wearing sox. Epic.
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zippyjet
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RE: Words That Have Lost Their Sense

Sat Nov 03, 2012 2:30 am

Shut Up! overused by bimbo hipster girls and the mass unwashed male hipster population for Oh My God or whatever. Instead of being used in place of quiet, shut your pie hole. etc...
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Fabo
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RE: Words That Have Lost Their Sense

Sun Nov 04, 2012 1:06 am

Quoting Airport (Reply 5):
Here's a simply great NSFW explanation: http://thebestpageintheuniverse.net/...=epic

Although it nicely describes the life cycle of a youth slang term, it fails in some other aspects... for one, it fails to recognize that "fail" is a different word from "failure"... they are synonyms, at best...

Do agree that no socks in shoes is no good.

Quoting Quokkas (Reply 3):
"You know" is liberally peppered in speech to mask the fact that the speaker is desperately thinking of what to say next, usually in response to an inane question. Most commonly used by people in the sport industry after the conclusion of a game of something.

We have a similar expression in Slovak, used very widely by hockey players, to the point of being a joke - "Tak určite", meaning something equivalent to "Well, sure". Used as an answer to you question, it would go something like,

"Well, sure, they were really good, but well, sure, we told we would try more and we did."
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DocLightning
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RE: Words That Have Lost Their Sense

Sun Nov 04, 2012 1:23 am

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 2):

Like.
Quoting Quokkas (Reply 3):

"You know"

These are stalling words used when the speaker's mouth has, you know, gotten ahead of his brain. That's why they're, like, so common.

  

[Edited 2012-11-03 19:26:20]
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Maverick623
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RE: Words That Have Lost Their Sense

Sun Nov 04, 2012 6:06 am

Quoting Quokkas (Reply 3):
"You know"

If I know, why are you bothering to tell me?
Quoting DocLightning (Reply 11):
These are stalling words used when the speaker's mouth has, you know, gotten ahead of his brain. That's why they're, like, so common.

  

My girlfriend actually has a mild stutter, and she uses "you know" when she gets hung up on a word or thought. The funny thing is, I have a small stutter as well (not nearly as bad as hers, and almost unnoticeable), and her tic has rubbed off on me.
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StuckInCA
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RE: Words That Have Lost Their Sense

Sun Nov 04, 2012 5:35 pm

Hero.

Used to mean something. Now, not so much. It's liberal use is almost as bad as people talking about "giving it 110%."
 
AustrianZRH
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RE: Words That Have Lost Their Sense

Sun Nov 04, 2012 5:37 pm

Quoting Darksnowynight (Reply 1):
Like.

And, like, when watching like Megan McCain she like uses the word like like every 10 like minutes like on her blog...
WARNING! The post above should be taken with a grain of salt! Furthermore, it may be slightly biased towards A.
 
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pu
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RE: Words That Have Lost Their Sense

Sun Nov 04, 2012 5:58 pm

The phrase in English

......................................"all but forgotten".........................

(or "all but impossible," "all but destroyed," "all but xxxxxxxxx)


doesn't really make sense because "all but" implies "everything but" ..... when it really means in this case "almost".



Pu
 
3DoorsDown
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RE: Words That Have Lost Their Sense

Sun Nov 04, 2012 7:02 pm

"It is what it is" I take to be a phrase when you are to stupid to think of something useful to say you just blurt out that POC line.
I agree with "you know" Every time I hear that I think to myself "why would I be listening to this stupid interview if I knew".
 
RussianJet
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RE: Words That Have Lost Their Sense

Sun Nov 04, 2012 7:24 pm

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 2):
Like.

In America, "like" doesn't mean "enjoy". It doesn't even invoke a simile. In 99% of cases, it just makes the speaker appear stupid.

Of course it doesn't mean 'enjoy' - because that word doesn't just mean 'enjoy' but also 'similar to' or 'as though'. That is why it is used in that irritating way, though it is certainly out of place and merely a filler for dullards to use - as the Doc said.
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nickh
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RE: Words That Have Lost Their Sense

Mon Nov 05, 2012 4:02 am

One of my pet peeves is when people use the term; "I could care less", when referring to something that they do not care about.

That implies that you still do care and could possibly care less about something.

The proper term is, "I couldn't care less" or as I like to put it, "I could not care less".

Another term, but this is more slang than anything, is when people say "let me axe you something...".

Is it that hard to pronounce the word A-S-K?

-Nick
"We all have wings, but some of us don't know why..."
 
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pu
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RE: Words That Have Lost Their Sense

Mon Nov 05, 2012 5:07 am

Quoting nickh (Reply 18):

Bravo!

I use the "I could care less" phrase as a marker for bad education, muddled thinking and an illiterate reliance on phonetics to construct good sentences.



Pu
 
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neutrino
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RE: Words That Have Lost Their Sense

Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:27 pm

Not to mention the person who immediately went on to mention the not to mention thingy in the same breath.
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Airstud
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RE: Words That Have Lost Their Sense

Tue Nov 06, 2012 1:56 am

Quoting nickh (Reply 18):
Another term, but this is more slang than anything, is when people say "let me axe you something...".

These are often the same people who use shift-8 to produce an "asterick."   
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chimborazo
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RE: Words That Have Lost Their Sense

Wed Nov 07, 2012 2:31 pm

"Clearly", particularly when used by politicians. It normally means the next bit isn't clear at all and that they are In fact obfuscating.
 
flyingturtle
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RE: Words That Have Lost Their Sense

Wed Nov 07, 2012 5:26 pm

Quoting Airstud (Reply 21):
asterick

  


High on my list is also "excuse me" and "sorry". I hear them often, without actually carrying any meaning. Extra points if you use these words in conjunction with a justification: "I'm sorry, but you could have...", "Excuse me, but I had to...".

Myself, I feel sorry, I don't write "sorry".


David
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lostsound
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RE: Words That Have Lost Their Sense

Wed Nov 07, 2012 5:52 pm

Legit.

It's the latest buzz word it seems.
Everyone is using it in almost all of their sentences.

"I like, died! Legit!"

No... you did not...

[Edited 2012-11-07 09:53:16]
 
nickh
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RE: Words That Have Lost Their Sense

Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:29 pm

There was another verbal faux pax, by local newscasters here in Houston, as well as state news personnel:

A couple of years ago, here in Texas, when certain congressional districts were being redesignated, the local newscasters constantly used the word "Redistricting" - only, they always pronounced it "Redistrikking".

Where did these so-called "newscasters" get their journalism degree, Fly-By-Night U (and discount transmission repair)?

Quoting flyingturtle (Reply 23):

Myself, I feel sorry, I don't write "sorry".

I agree - 'Sorry' is an emotion - I start with "I would like to apologize...".

-Nick
"We all have wings, but some of us don't know why..."
 
Airstud
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RE: Words That Have Lost Their Sense

Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:09 pm

Quoting nickh (Reply 18):
One of my pet peeves is when people use the term; "I could care less", when referring to something that they do not care about.

That implies that you still do care and could possibly care less about something.

The proper term is, "I couldn't care less" or as I like to put it, "I could not care less".

I have a different viewpoint on this.

I could say that "I couldn't care less about my nephew," because I do in fact care for him deeply, and am not capable of lowering the level of such caring. Likewise, in defense of those who say they could care less; they may be saying that they do in fact have a baseline, default level of caring for the matter at hand, but that they also have sufficient apathy for it such that they could care less about it; could lower their level of caring for it ...if someone axed them to.   
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csavel
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RE: Words That Have Lost Their Sense

Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:32 pm

Quoting StuckInCA (Reply 13):
Hero.

Used to mean something. Now, not so much. It's liberal use is almost as bad as people talking about "giving it 110%."

A hero is nothing but a sandwich  

Here are three.

Awesome - originally meant awe-insipiring w/o value judgement. Thus the A-bomb over Hiroshima was an awesome sight. But now it means only good awesome - and that has gotten watered down.

Momentarily - supposed to be for a moment NOT in a moment. So we'll be airborne momentarily is not a good thing.

Now two oldies but goodies to show that this is a continuous process.

Lousy - well it originally meant infested with lice, natch!
Silly - originally meant blessed (I think cognate to Zelig in German) Then local priests used to call the local village idiots silly (or blessed) to ameliorate stigma. Well you know what happened with that one!
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lostsound
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RE: Words That Have Lost Their Sense

Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:57 pm

"Gay" is another term that is used constantly with a very different motive then originally intended.

Originally meaning "happy" and continuing on to also be an alternate term for "homosexual".

These days it is used as a derogatory term that people equate to "lame, stupid, frustrating, and unfair".

For an example: "My car just got dinged!" "Man that's gay!" and "That show is so gay, this ones is way better."

It has also been used to describe someone/something that is effeminate which is not what it means either.
That alteration has to do with stereotypes, a little bit of ignorance, and quite a bit of arrogance.
 
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RE: Words That Have Lost Their Sense

Thu Nov 08, 2012 12:49 am

Quoting StuckInCA (Reply 13):
Hero.

Used to mean something. Now, not so much. It's liberal use is almost as bad as people talking about "giving it 110%."

I'd add "legend" and "legendary" to that.
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Quokkas
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RE: Words That Have Lost Their Sense

Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:23 am

Quoting LostSound (Reply 28):
"Gay" is another term

It always amuses me when I hear people lament the changed use of this word.Yet from as early as the seventeenth century it became associated with wanton, lewd or lascivious behaviour. In the nineteenth century, if a woman was described as gay it meant that she was a prostitute.
“Not to laugh, not to cry, not to hate, but understand.” Spinoza
 
Fabo
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RE: Words That Have Lost Their Sense

Sat Nov 10, 2012 11:51 am

Quoting Airstud (Reply 26):
I could say that "I couldn't care less about my nephew," because I do in fact care for him deeply, and am not capable of lowering the level of such caring.

That is linguistically incorrect.

As there is a hypothetical possibility that you could care less for him, say, for example, if he turned out a psycho and started doing some really bad stuff.

It is only under present circumstances that you cannot care less.

Only when I do not care for something period, then it means that I could not care less [if I tried], because there is simply no less to be defined. If I said I could care less, that means that there exists a level of caring, albeit small, but present, and at this very moment, I might be either unwilling or unable to care less (or I would, would I not?) therefore it being the total oposite of what most of the mis-users are thinking they convey.
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zippyjet
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RE: Words That Have Lost Their Sense

Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:17 am

I can't believe I forgot to mention this. I'm 56 years young and I totally forgot about: Five and Ten/Five and Dime!
Even back in the 60's when I was a kid I asked my mom why they called stores like Woolworth's and Kresgies Five and Ten's. Because most of the stuff sold was a dime or less! Talk about back in the day. Woolworths and other companies like it were retail power houses well into the 70's. Now, it's Target, Wal Mart and the shopping club stores such as Sam's Club and Costco. Five and Dime is so trite and old school these days.

Also Notions I believe back in the day that meant old lady matron stuff like doylies, fart catcher bovine sized underwear and thimbles. Wow, the Victorian era reached all the way through 1963 which such old fashioned trite stuff and ideals.
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David L
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RE: Words That Have Lost Their Sense

Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:41 pm

"Decimate" - originally it meant killing one man in ten. Now it's generally used to mean something much more severe. It doesn't bother me one iota but it is a word that's lost its original sense.

Quoting Fabo (Reply 31):

Spot on. It's about possibility rather than probability. Cue David Mitchell, yet again:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXJHip7Su5o

To be fair to Americans, it's not uncommon in this country for people to be similarly confused by, for example, "I can't hardly wait" versus "I can hardly wait".

 
 
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neutrino
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RE: Words That Have Lost Their Sense

Fri Nov 16, 2012 6:28 pm

Quoting nickh (Reply 25):
Quoting flyingturtle (Reply 23):

Myself, I feel sorry, I don't write "sorry".

I agree - 'Sorry' is an emotion - I start with "I would like to apologize...".

-Nick

I abhor this signage:- "Sorry for the inconvenice caused".
My preferred version would be:- "Thank you for bearing with the inconvenience".
Potestatem obscuri lateris nescitis
 
babybus
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RE: Words That Have Lost Their Sense

Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:40 pm

'Cool'

It means nothing and sounds very odd coming from middle aged people.
and with that..cabin crew, seats for landing please.
 
N243NW
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RE: Words That Have Lost Their Sense

Sat Nov 17, 2012 6:35 pm

Quoting flyingturtle (Reply 23):
High on my list is also "excuse me" and "sorry". I hear them often, without actually carrying any meaning.

That's true. People use these words and "apologize" when they haven't even done anything wrong. I almost bump into another person in the hallway because we didn't see each other coming around a corner. It's nobody's fault, but the other person, almost without fail, says "sorry."

Another word is "hilarious" - this is a pretty good comedy bit I encountered recently.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzwXqkGApBk&t=1m34s
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Geezer
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RE: Words That Have Lost Their Sense

Sat Nov 17, 2012 10:52 pm

Quoting nickh (Reply 18):
That implies that you still do care and could possibly care less about something.

The proper term is, "I couldn't care less" or as I like to put it, "I could not care less".

I would most likely say, "it would be literally IMPOSSIBLE for me to "care" ANY less about what IS "is"

Not to mention, it isn't what it isn't ! GOT IT ?

Charley
Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein
 
aero145
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RE: Words That Have Lost Their Sense

Sun Nov 18, 2012 12:27 pm

holiday

holy + day

nowadays, it means “vacation”

one of the reasons I (almost) never use “holiday” is its original meaning, another reason would be that “vacation” is directly to the point

Easter Sunday would be a holiday, though, six weeks vacation isn’t that holy anymore
 
Quokkas
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RE: Words That Have Lost Their Sense

Sun Nov 18, 2012 12:43 pm

Quoting aero145 (Reply 38):
Easter Sunday would be a holiday, though, six weeks vacation isn’t that holy anymore

Easter Sunday is a day for stuffing one's face with chocolate eggs and going to the hardware shop to buy DIY gear. Or, as here in Australia it forms part of a long weekend (Good Friday and Easter Monday are public holidays too), it's a day at a winery, at the beach, a short trip to Bali or anywhere else but church. Nothing holy about it at all for most, except the hole in one's pocket at the end of it. A short vacation, maybe?  
“Not to laugh, not to cry, not to hate, but understand.” Spinoza
 
AlnessW
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RE: Words That Have Lost Their Sense

Mon Nov 19, 2012 4:29 am

Quoting nickh (Reply 18):
One of my pet peeves is when people use the term; "I could care less", when referring to something that they do not care about.

That implies that you still do care and could possibly care less about something.

   Yep!

Quoting LostSound (Reply 28):

  

On an unrelated note - I always find it funny when someone is talking about math and they say "timesed" instead of "multiplied." "Timesed" isn't even a real word. 

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