Words thrown around loosely | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 21, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 21, 2019

Words thrown around loosely

Language is an ever-changing thing. With the constantly evolving digital communication platforms, language has experienced immense transformation. Starting from texting acronyms to the use of emojis midsentence, I think it's safe to say that if someone did secretly figure out how to time travel from the early 20th century and tried reading a text, they wouldn't understand a full sentence. Now, these constant changes have led to some words being used inappropriately on such a large scale that most people are not even aware of the actual meaning of these words. The following are a few words that are very common yet are mostly used out of context.


In a literal or exact sense or manner.

Usually mistaken for 'figuratively', this word is now usually used to further emphasise a certain proposition.Ironically, in doing so, we often find ourselves saying something that is not exactly true following the word literally. So no Raisa, you did not literally roll on the floor laughing at that meme for an hour when you actually merely exhaled audibly and smirked slightly while scrolling past it.


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Contrary to popular belief, OCD is not the habit of organising your belongings in a certain manner, neither is it the practice of keeping things clean around you. It is a type of mental illness where a person goes through intense obsessions that cause them to experience distress leading them to have intense urges to act in a certain manner to get rid of the anxiety. Hence, being a neat-freak or a generally organised person is not equivalent to having OCD.

IRONY (noun)

The expression of a humorous remark by using language that usually signifies the opposite.

We hear the word irony or its adjective form very commonly, especially when we are trying to talk about something funny. However, irony is only appropriate when the insinuation is being made using words that have a generally contradictory meaning. Thus, it isn't ironic that Labib doesn't know what irony means, it would have been if he claimed to understand it very well though.


A false or distorted representation of something.

Used very frequently on social media, most people tend to mistake travesty for tragedy. The correct use of the word travesty would be to describe a mockery or parody made out of something but it is loosely used to describe unfortunate situations widely. Basically, when you read the word travesty next time, do not automatically assume that something bad has happened.

REDUNDANT (adjective)

Unnecessary or out of use.

Redundant and repetitive are words that are incorrectly used alternatively. However, these words are actually completely unrelated. Redundant is an adjective that is used to describe something that has gone out of use and can be thrown out without its previous holder losing value.

Conversations are vital in building up our reputations in front of people, so let's avoid the humiliation of using words out of context and get to know the actual meanings of words we use. It's literally a travesty, might even be ironic, that we don't know the meaning of words we use so regularly. Notice how all the words listed weren't a part of the previous sentence? That's our lesson for the day, we don't use them when they don't really fit.


Syeda Afrin Tarannum would choose 'The Script' over 'G-Eazy' any day. Continue ignoring her taste in music on:afrintara@gmail.com

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