10 English words that may be mistakenly used by even the foreigners


“Refute” means to “disprove with evidence” and yet it’s commonly used, even by professional writers, to mean “rebut” which carries a similar meaning but isn’t quite so strong, as it can also mean “argue against.” The example here (“Simon Cowell refutes ‘scandalous’ claims he helped billionaire hide assets from wife he was divorcing”) is from a recent Daily Mail article. For those outside the UK, the Daily Mail is a newspaper which regularly rages against falling educational standards. A special mention to Sarah Palin who invented a new word “refudiate”; the usage suggests she meant repudiate.

Nowadays, it’s almost universally assumed that “instant” actually means “quickly” or “without intervention.” Obviously, it doesn’t. It actually refers to a precise moment in time. Google Instant is a good example of this word being abused.

“Enormity” means “extreme evil”, but it’s often used to mean “enormousness”. US President, George HW Bush missed this one when he said after being elected that he “Couldn’t believe the enormity of the situation.” A perfect example of irony (which, in the context I have just used it, is correct).

Less is used when comparing quantities that can’t be counted; for example, “I’d like less milk.” If you’re comparing quantities (like bagels, for example) then “fewer” should be used. But you don’t win many competitions with a tie break if you point out that “25 words or less” should actually be “25 words or fewer.” The antonyms “more than” and “greater than” get similarly misused. Programmers will know the comparison operators are referred to as “greater than and less than”; it should really be “greater than and fewer than”.

Chronic is originally a medical term meaning “long term”; it has the same root as “chronometer”. Someone suffering from chronic pain has long term pain. It’s often used to mean “very bad” – in fact “acute” should be used instead. Despite that, it’s easy to find recent examples: “O’Brien: INM in ‘chronic’ state”.

This is such a widely known misused word that examples are less common, as most people know to avoid the term – which should be used to describe something that is actually happening (for example, “He literally danced with joy.”) but should not be used for emphasis (“Steam was literally coming out of his ears.”) This example quotes a, now deceased, reverend gentleman who seemed to rejoice in, frankly, daft opinions, including one about a “literal homosexual steamroller”:

“Panacea” means a cure all; it comes from the same Greek root as “panorama”. It shouldn’t be used to imply a cure for a single thing, and yet here is a newspaper saying: “SOUTH AFRICA: Welfare payments – a panacea for poverty?”

Does “disinterested” mean the same as “uninterested”? No. Here’s an example of misuse: “Tom Disinterested in Windows Phone 7 Too?”. “Disinterested” means that a party is independent; so a dispute might be settled by a disinterested party. “Uninterested” means the party has no interest. “I asked John if he wanted to go to the cricket, but he was completely uninterested.”

Decimation was a Roman punishment where one in ten men was killed. So when something is decimated, it implies that ten percent of it is destroyed. “Devastate” is almost certainly a better word for most usages and yet: “New York City budget will decimate libraries”.

1、 Ultimate
From the Latin, this means the last in a list of items. But it’s so widely used to indicate the best; a google search for “ultimate phone” gives 307 million hits. I’d argue that the last phone has yet to be made. This is probably the most misused word on the Internet; type “ultimate” into google and thousands of hits come up, pretty much all of them using it as “the best”. However, for a change, this is the ultimate entry in this list.

Inventory of the origin of the names of the currencies used in the world

A fistful of dollars
The dollar is one of the most common currencies in the world used by the US, Australia, Canada, Fiji, New Zealand, and Singapore to name a few. The origin of the dollar, also the Slovenian tolar, is from a coin called the Joachimsthaler, shortened to Thaler, named after the valley in which the silver it was made from was mined, the Joachimsthal, literally ‘Joachim’s valley’. The term began to be used in other languages, especially Dutch, and was later applied to the most widely used coin in the American colonies. In 1792, it was adopted as the name of the US monetary unit.
All that glitters is not gold
Many countries use the dinar, which comes from the Latin denarius, an ancient Roman silver coin: Jordanian dinar, Algerian dinar, Serbian dinar, and Kuwaiti dinar among others. The Indian and Pakistani rupee derives from the Sanskrit rupya meaning ‘wroughtsilver’.
The South African rand is named after the Witwatersrand, the area  around Johannesburg known for its gold deposits. The Hungarian forint comes from the Italian fiorino, originally the name of a gold coin from Florence, Italy with a flower (Italianfiore) stamped on it. The British coin the florin (used until 1971) has the same origin.
Serrated edges on coins became popular when coins were made of precious metals like gold and silver because the ridges made it harder for people to scrape off metal and devalue the coins.
Doing the rounds
Chinese yuan 元, Japanese yen 円, and Korean won 원, all originate from the Chinese character 圓 meaning ‘round’  or ‘round coin’. Although in English, we speak about the Hong Kong dollar or the New Taiwan dollar, in Chinese these are referred to as yuán 圓.
Royal crown
Many Scandinavian countries use currency whose name is ultimately derived from the Latin corona meaning ‘crown’: Swedish krona, Norwegian krone, Danish krone, Icelandic króna as well as the Estonian kroon (now replaced by the Euro) and the Czech koruna. The Spanish real, a former currency of Spain derived from the Latin regalis meaning ‘royal’ which is the origin of a number of Middle Eastern currencies.
A weighty subject
Although the Germans and the Finns use the Euro now, their former currencies the German mark and the Finnish markka, both have their origin in units of weight. While the Spanish peso meaning ‘weight’ in Spanish, is also no longer used in Spain. The Russian ruble or рубль, was originally a measure of weight used for silver. The Italian and Turkish lira also have their origins in units of weight from the Latin libra meaning ‘pound’.

Life is so tough? 8 tips help you get through those tough days

No matter what problem you’re facing, tough times happen to the best of us. Whether it’s financial trouble or just an overall bad day, finding positivity in a daunting situation is the key to overcoming it. It may be hard to look on the bright side, especially when things aren’t going as expected, but everything passes in time. If you need a boost of happiness to help you through the day, be sure to remember these things:

1. Accept it.
Although it may seem challenging to accept a negative situation, it’s your best bet in moving toward a resolution. You can’t change what already happened; you can only focus on how to improve the circumstances now.

2. Don’t waste time dwelling on it.
Dwelling on a problem can only make it bigger than it already is. Not only will you feel worse in the long run, but also, you’ll lose valuable time when you could be working toward a solution. Don’t let a bad situation get the best of you — take steps to let it go.

3. Don’t compare yourself to others.
According to a quote from Steven Furtick, “The reason why we struggle with insecurity isbecause we compare our behind the scenes with everyone’s highlight reel.” When you’re struggling through a tough situation, comparing yourself is the last thing you should be doing. You have no idea what struggles another person could be going through, so instead of comparing, you should look at the happiness within yourself.

4. Make a plan of action.
The best way to overcome a negative time is to be determined to find a way out of it. If you don’t like the way something is, do what you can in your power to change it. In financial situations, you can work on a budget and prioritize your costs. In a fight with a loved one, you can take some time to cool down and amend things by talking it out.

5. Recognize positive things in your life.
While it may feel like your world is crashing around you, this rough time does not,ultimately, define your life. From family to being healthy, it’s best to recognize the positive things in your life. It definitely helps ease the pain of a negative situation.

6. Acknowledge you’re not alone.
Having a support system is essential for any tough moment. Family members, significant others, and best friends are the people you should confide in when going through a distressing time. These people are the ones who know you best and can give you advice from an outside perspective. Besides, it doesn’t hurt having someone you love and care for in your corner rooting you on.

7. Learn from it.
There’s always something to be learned from every experience you go through, good or bad. Take some time to reflect on the situation, how you reacted, and what you can do if you ever go through it again. Collecting all this knowledge could even help you avoid the situation in the future or assist a friend who is going through something similar.

8. Look to the future.
Now that all is said and done, it’s time to start looking ahead to the future. Leave the past behind you, and begin looking to a brighter tomorrow. Change begins and ends with you, and clinging to a past event won’t help alter it. Work on building a better future for yourself; it all starts with a positive mindset.

Internet sensation in China with 2.23 million hits: a woman tuk tuk driver made a lifesaving manoeuvre to avoid a car crash

This is the incredible moment when a woman tuk tuk driver pulls an amazing U-turn to avoid a car crash.
The footage, which shows the lifesaving manoeuvre as two cars collide at a crossroad, has become an internet sensation in China with 2.23 million hits in just four days, The People’s Daily reported.
Shi Xingying had been going over a zebra crossing and was about to go through a green light when she narrowly avoided being sandwiched between two vehicles, in the southern coastal city Wuxi last month.
In the clip, a silver car crosses the intersection and was turning left when a yellow truck comes in from the opposite direction and the duo smash into to each other at high speed.
Somehow the tuk tukdriver, who was just metres from the impact, managed to dodgethe collision which would have likely killed her.

‘I was going across the street in front of green lights and I didn’t expect that the two vehicles would whoosh towards me suddenly,’ said Shi, who is in her 60s.
The cleaner, who works for a service company, recalled that she had slowed down to observe traffic situation nearby when she approached the green light.
According to local traffic police, both vehicles should have slowed down as they approached the intersection though ultimately the silver car, which was turning, should have given way to the oncoming truck.
Both vehicles swerved to avoid the tuk tuk while the three-wheeler performed a death-defying 180 degree turn to steer clear of the violent collision.

Awkward research: men aren’t hugely attracted to witty women

If you want to impress a man, don’t try to be funny.
Research shows that men aren’t hugely attracted to witty women.
Given the choice of a female who makes him laugh, or one that laughs at his jokes, he will choose the latter.
Luckily, women aren’t too worried about their jokes being appreciated. They, it seems, like men who make them smile.
It is thought that women see the ability to make people laugh sign of intelligence – and men have evolved to show off how good they are with words.
The University of Miami researchers quizzed more than 80 men and women about how much importance they placed on having a partner who could make them laugh.
The answers revealed that women like men make them laugh, while men want to go out with women who appreciate their humour.
Given that women tend to be more choosy, men are under pressure to make them laugh.
Miss Hone, who is close to completing her PhD, said: ‘Given that humour requires high-level linguistic capacity, women are thought to use humour production as a sign that a man is a mentally-capable suitor.’
However, she said that funny women shouldn’t despair. There is also hope for bachelors who never remember punch lines.
This is because her results were based on averages – and not everyone will have the same taste.

The world’s oldest person shares the secret of her longevity on her 117th birthday

The world’s oldest person is set to celebrate her 117th birthday, but says that despite her age, her life has seemed rather short.
Misao Okawa was born in Osaka, Japan, on March 5, 1898, was recognized as the world’s oldest person by Guinness World Records in 2013.
Mrs Okawa said she still does not know how she has lived for so long, but has previously credited her longevity to eight hours sleep, eating sushi, and doing squats until the age of 102.
‘It seemed rather short,’ she said after an Osaka government official asked how she felt about living for 117 years, adding that she is ‘very happy’ to be that age.

Asked for the secret of her longevity, the great-grandmother responded nonchalantly, ‘I wonder about that too.’
During the celebrations of her 116th birthday last year, Mrs Okawa said: ‘Eat and sleep and you will live a long time. You have to learn to relax.’
The head of Mrs Okawa’s retirement home added that she ‘eats three large meals a day, sleeps eight hours a night, and insists that her favourite meal is sushi, particularly mackerel on vinegar-steamed rice.’
The great-grandmother has slowed in recent months and has trouble hearing but she eats well and is in good health, the Osaka care home said today.
Mrs Okawa married her husband, Yukio, in 1919, and they had three children — two daughters and a son.
Mrs Okawa says that the happiest moments of her life were her wedding and the birth of her children – she still has a surviving son and daughter who are now 94 and 92.

She now has four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Her husband died in 1931.
Mrs Okawa was recognized as the world’s oldest person by Guinness World Records in 2013. Experts say it is no surprise that Mrs Okawa is Japanese.
The nation has the most centenarians in the world, with more than 58,000, according to the government. About 87 percent of them are women.
They say it is down to an excellent healthcare system, encouragement to stay active in old age and a healthy diet made up of fish, rice and fruit.
The life expectancy for a Japanese woman is almost 86 years while the average for a Japanese man is 79.6 years.

Addicted to eating bricks for 20 years: Indian Pica man loves snacking on bricks

This Indian villager is addicted to eating bricks, gravel and mud, stomaching at least three kilos of his surroundings every day. Pakkirappa Hunagundi, 30, first developed a taste for the seemingly inedible objects at the age of ten.
Ever since, he has snacked on walls and streets of Karnataka, India – and claims to suffer no ill effects. The bizarre eating disorder is thought to be a form of Pica, an illness which gives sufferers an appetite for substances without any nutritional value.
Sporting a full set of normal-looking teeth, Mr Hunagundi blasts any suggestion he should curbthe addiction. He said: ‘I have been eating bricks and rocks for around 20 years now. I love eating them. It has become a part of my life.
‘I started at the age of 10. Now it feels like a necessity to me. I can skip meals, but not bricks or mud. I have suffered no side effects. My teeth are absolutely fine. I can bite into the hardest stone without a problem.’

His mother has spent 20 years trying to dissuade her son from eating away parts of their house and village. But Mr Hunagundi says the the building material tastes ‘A1′ – an Indian term for the best.
‘I need mud and bricks to eat. I can’t help my own habit.’
One villager said: ‘I have known him since childhood. He has always eaten mud and stones since then. Even a tiny stone in the mouth hurts so much. But he eats mud and stones everyday with so much ease. We find it extremely strange.’
After news of his brick eating spread, Mr Hunagundi has been inundated with people wanting to watch him going about his everyday activity. One friend said: ‘He has become very famous, but he is a poor man. We wish someone would help him.
‘When we see him, we feel very bad. We have tried to convince him many times, but he does not listen. We have given up now.
Mr Hunagundi, who works as a labourer in his village and struggles to make ends meet, now intends to travel the country to showcase his act.
He said: ‘My father died four years ago. I have to take care of my mother. We don’t have any income. So I want to make use of my talent. I want to show people what I can do. I want to earn some money.’

Shocking news: a judge in Utah has ruled polygamy legal

A federal judge in Utah has issued a final ruling that strikes down parts of the state’s anti-polygamy law in a lawsuit filed by the family that appears on the TV show “Sister Wives.”
U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups ruled in favor of the stars of the TLC reality show in December, but he held back on a final ruling as he weighed whether Kody Brown and his four wives could collect attorneys‘ fees.
Waddoups ruled in their favor on that issue Wednesday, capping a landmark decision for the family that sued Utah in 2011 after a county prosecutor threatened to charge them following the premiere of the TV show. It wasn’t immediately clear how much the Browns could collect in attorneys’ fees.
Waddoups had ruled that a provision of Utah’s law forbidding cohabitation violated the Browns’ freedom of religion.
Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes said in February he intended to appeal the ruling once it was made final. On Wednesday, his office said in a written statement that it was reviewing the ruling and “will make final determination of whether or not to appeal one or more of the issues in the decision within the coming weeks.”
The Brown family was overwhelmed and thankful for the ruling, said their attorney, Jonathan Turley.
“This was a historic ruling that I believe will stand the test of time,” Turley said. He said the family would continue the legal battle to an appeals court or even the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.“
The Browns said they were forced to leave Utah for Las Vegas in 2011 in fear of prosecution. Turley said Wednesday he didn’t know if the Brown family would return in the wake of the ruling.
“The important thing is that they now can move back to Utah,” Turley said, adding that the family has missed the state. “They now have the choice.”
Fundamentalist Mormon polygamists believe polygamy brings exaltation in heaven. The mainstream Mormon church strictly prohibits the practice.

10 greatest love letters in history: Churchill and Hemingway are among it

1. Johnny Cash wishes wife June Carter Cash a happy 65th birthday (1994)
‘We get old and get used to each other. We think alike. We read each others minds. We know what the other wants without asking. Sometimes we irritate each other a little bit. Maybe sometimes take each other for granted. But once in awhile, like today, I meditateon it and realise how lucky I am to share my life with the greatest woman I ever met.’
2. Winston Churchill tells wife Clementine Churchill of his undying love (1935)
‘My darling Clemmie, in your letter from Madras you wrote some words very dear to me, about having enriched your life. I cannot tell you what pleasure this gave me, because I always feel so overwhelmingly in your debt, if there can be accounts in love.’
3. John Keats tells next door neighbour Fanny Brawne he can not live without her (1819)

‘I cannot exist without you – I am forgetful of every thing but seeing you again – my Life seems to stop there – I see no further. You have absorb’d me.’
4. Ernest Hemingway professes his love to Marlene Dietrich (1951)
‘I can’t say how every time I ever put my arms around you I felt that I was home.’
5. Napoleon Bonaparte sends his love to Josephine de Beauharnais (1796)
‘Since I left you, I have been constantly depressed. My happiness is to be near you. Incessantly I live over in my memory your caresses, your tears, your affectionatesolicitude. The charms of the incomparable Josephine kindle continually a burning and a glowing flame in my heart.’
6. Richard Burton tells Elizabeth Taylor of her beauty (1964)
‘My blind eyes are desperately waiting for the sight of you. You don’t realize of course, E.B., how fascinatingly beautiful you have always been, and how strangely you have acquired an added and special and dangerous loveliness.’
7. King Henry VIII expresses his love for Anne Boleyn (1527)
‘I beg to know expressly your intention touching the love between us. Necessity compels me to obtain this answer, having been more than a year wounded by the dart of love, and not yet sure whether I shall fail or find a place in your affection.’
8. Beethoven pens his love for his ‘Immortal Beloved’ whose true identity remains a mystery (1812)

‘Though still in bed, my thoughts go out to you, my Immortal Beloved, Be calm-love me-today-yesterday-what tearful longings for you-you-you-my life-my all-farewell. Oh continue to love me-never misjudge the most faithful heart of your beloved. Ever thine. Ever mine. Ever ours.’
9. Gerald Ford reminds wife Betty Ford of his and their family’s love for her shortly after she was diagnosed with breast cancer (1974)

‘No written words can adequately express our deep, deep love. We know how great you are and we, the children and Dad, will try to be as strong as you. Our Faith in you and God will sustain us. Our total love for you is everlasting.’
10. Jimi Hendrix tells his ‘little girl’ to spread her wings (date unknown)
‘Happiness is within you*. so unlock the chains from your heart and let yourself grow like the sweet flower you are*..I know the answer-Just spread your wings and set yourself FREE’

“stock god” Buffett’s secret of longevity: five-Coke-a-day

With billions of dollars at his disposal, you’d imagine Warren Buffett enjoying gourmetmeals whipped up by a chef and served up on a gold platter. But it turns out the billionaire’s tastes are a bit more, shall we say, elementary. Buffett, 84, credits his longevity to his five-Coke-a-day habit: three during the day and two at night. And no, it’s not because he owns nearly 10 percent of Coca-Cola.
“I checked the actuarial tables, and the lowest death rate is among six-year-olds. So I decided to eat like a six-year-old.” Buffett told Fortune Magazine.
And the childlike eating habits don’t stop with the sugar-laden soft drink. He admitted he sometimes has chocolate-chip ice cream for breakfast. He also loves Utz Potato Stix and has said his favorite meal is a cheeseburger with a Cherry Coke.
Buffett has also spoken of an affinity for all things Frito-Lay, including Cheetos, Fritos and even Munchos — as long as they’re washed down, of course, with Coke. While the diet may seem unhealthy, he insists it’s all about calories, and staying within 2,500 to maintain his weight.
And he wouldn’t have it any other way. “If somebody told me that I’ll live a year longer by eating nothing but broccoli and asparagus from now on, I would just say… every day will seem like as long,” he told CNBC’s Squawk Box in 2010. “I’ll stick with the Cheetos and the Coke.”