The Worst Misused and Misunderstood Words May Surprise You

Everyone has that one word they hate so much because it has been (mis)used so many times that hearing or seeing it almost drives you insane.

There are also words that are not only overused, but criminally misunderstood/misinterpreted. 

Recently, a Redditor asked, “What is the most widely misused and misunderstood word in this day and age?” These are the words (and expressions) Redditors considered “widely misused”.

1. Weary

“”Wary”, “leery”, and “weary”. I see these words misused all the time, especially on Reddit,” u/eklu24 wrote.

““Wary” and “leery” both mean that you’re watchful against danger or suspicious. “Weary” means you’re tired, exhausted, or worn down. Oftentimes people will conflate wary and leery and instead use weary, which has an entirely different meaning.”

2. Everyday / Every day

Another Redditor wrote: ““Every day” means daily. “Everyday” means commonplace.”

3. Gaslight / Gatekeep

“These are easily two of the most popular words I’ve seen used on the internet for a long time now, and only a fraction of those times do people actually use them in their correct sense,” a Redditor said.

While gaslighting entails emotional manipulation, gatekeeping involves controlling access to opportunities, communities, resources, etc.

4. Irrationally

A Redditor said, “Asking “what makes you irrationally angry” and the answers are all quite rational.”

5. I Could Care Less

“It’s misspoken expressions like this that made me realize most people most of the time are running on autopilot. We don’t think about the words we use, we just repeat what we’ve heard, correctly or not. I think it’s the same with politics,” u/AdaminCalgary said.

6. Narcissist

u/Everythingness wrote: “Yeah real narcissism is an ugly thing and destroys multiple lives. We live in an anti-intellectual period where if someone who is an expert in their field tells the uncomfortable truth or appears smarter, they are labelled as “narcissists”.”

“There was a time period in the 40's to 50's when smart people were celebrated. No wonder our society is declining.”

7. Literally

“I will literally die if you criticize my usage of the word literally,” u/BoomerangOfDeath said.

“That's not a joke, I have a condition and if anyone ever criticizes me I will literally fall over dead.”

8. OCD

Someone wrote: “See also: bipolar, manic, schizophrenic, psychotic, narcissist, ADHD, depressed, panic attack, dissociate…”


“I hate people who self-diagnose/make up mental illnesses/ disorders. Whenever I tell people I have ADHD they just assume i self-diagnosed myself. Just because your attention span is little lower than average doesn't mean you have ADHD!” u/userofthecucumber posted.

10. Depressed

“Waking up to a bad mood because your crush hasn’t texted back does not make you depressed,” u/chandlrs said. Another agreed: “Yes, it's a mood disorder not an day to day feeling.”

11. Ironic

u/DemonCatJ17 said, “Even Alanis Morissette got it wrong.” Someone replied, “Isn't it ironic?”

12. Ignorant

“The amount of people who use it for somebody who is ignoring them is astonishing,” u/MartianManhnter posted.

“Many people use it as a substitute for rude,” someone else replied.

13. Jealous

u/Olibro64 said, “Most of the time people really mean envious.”

u/trentsim highlighted the difference between the two words: “Envy means you want it, but jealousy implies hostility, resentment, suspicion, or fear caused by not having what someone else has or not wanting to lose what you have.”

14. Christian

“I once heard someone say calling yourself a Christian because you go to church is akin to calling yourself a car because you’ve walked into a garage,” u/PrincessGump shared.

15. Abuse

“Abuse has become an abused word,” u/Mm_Donut commented.

16. Entrapment

u/cozy_fyre posted: “What It IS NOT: When a cop parks out of view to catch speeders or other violations.”

“What It IS: Using force, the threat thereof, or other means to coerce someone to do something they weren’t intending to do.”

17. Clout

“Kids throw the word around all day without even understanding what it means,” u/derkadoodle said.

“They think clout is fame but it’s more than that, and not necessarily fame. Clout is power and influence. Not TikTok fame. Joe Exotic is famous, but he doesn’t have clout, otherwise he’d have been pardoned by Trump.”

“All these kids talking about chasing clout when they have 0 influence. And by influence I mean influence to affect some kind of change not just harassing someone.”

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.