New Word #25: Used And Confused

Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

The following are two groups of words that are not infrequently used, one starting with t and the other starting with f or fl. I constantly get confused between tout and taunt, flaunt and flout, flounder and founder and flounce. The most surprising of all is founder which is supposed to mean a person who starts an organization. (This is not to be confused with finder, which means a person who finds someone or something.) However when founder is a verb, it means sink, fail, or break down. Isn’t that surprising–the noun and the verb having the opposite meaning? As a non-native speaker, one has to stay strong in the face of ceaseless efforts of English words trying to push one over the edge of sanity.

tout: attempt to sell (something), typically by pestering people in an aggressive or bold manner.

taunt: a remark made in order to anger, wound, or provoke someone.

taut: stretched or pulled tight; not slack; not relaxed.

flout: openly disregard (a rule, law or convention).

flaunt: display (something) ostentatiously, especially in order to provoke envy or admiration or to show defiance.

flounder: struggle or stagger helplessly or clumsily in water or mud.

founder: (of a ship) fill with water and sink; (of a plan or undertaking) fail or break down

flounce: go or move in an exaggeratedly impatient or angry manner.

21 thoughts on “New Word #25: Used And Confused

  1. Lol as a fellow non-native speaker I understand your frustrations. I remember having to write a story using the word flounder as a basis in high school and it was actually quite fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s an interesting writing project. Wish I had an interesting writing like that, but my school literature classes were all invariably boring. Sigh. But we survive despite the boredom. LOL.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, that’s wonderful. Some education system only wants to be didactic and only requires memorization. Hahaha. Tell me about it. I am glad other systems are not so bad after all. LOL.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. A lot of people confuse “imply” and “infer” – and nearly everybody these days uses “criteria” for the singular as well as the plural. The word “criterion” has almost disappeared from use! Also I can’t get used to “media” being used as a singular, as in “the media is”. It just shrieks “plural” to me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are right. Media’s singular form should be medium, right? However I’ve never seen medium being used at all. I am always confused by singular and plural. For example information, consideration. I really don’t know and often I have to look it up online, which I am not sure that I can trust completely. LOL. For example, chaos. I’ve never figured out if it is one chao or one chaos. LOL. English is driving me crazy.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. And yes – medium is the singular of media – so it should be “the media are” and “the medium is”. Strictly speaking, “data” is a plural too – but I’ve got so used to that one being treated as a singular that it doesn’t really bother me!

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I wish there’s no distinction between singular and plural forms. LOL. Nice wish, but it will not come true. I often see “media is”… I guess medium is just obsolete.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Love the video. I was so shocked when the man ladle a spoonful of mixture into his mouth. Yuk. That’s the end result of all the weird pronunciations and spelling and all the torture to non-native speakers. I think they enjoy being eccentric and weird and inscrutable. LOL.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Love the video. There are a couple near where I come from – in Cheshire. “Cholmondeley” is pronounced “Chumley”. Also the first syllable of “Daresbury” is pronounced to rhyme with “far”. Even the local news gets it wrong and rhymes it with “fair”.

      But I think there are a few US place names that Brits get wrong too. eg Most Brits pronounce the first syllable of Michigan as “Mitch” rather than “Mish” as I think it should be. I noticed when I was in the US that they pronounce the second syllable of “Spokane” as “can”. I’d always thought it was “Spo-cane”. Also I’d always thought “Boise” was either “Boyce” or maybe “Bwaz” (French style). In fact it’s “Boy-see”. And I believe they pronounce Cairo, Illinois as “Kay-row” – even though they pronounce the Egyptian capital in the normal way – as “Kye-row”!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is sorta funny how there are place names that spell one way and sound another. There are even places in the US that Americans pronounce based on region. I’m from the Northeast, so I would call New Orleans as “New Or-leens” but natives there call it “N’arlins”. There are even people who pronounce Missouri as “Missour-ah”.

        I am sure there are other places like that in other countries. I’ve been told many times by Aussies that Brisbane is not “Bris-bayne” but “Brisbin”.

        The English language is funny ๐Ÿ˜€

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Yes, the spelling and pronunciation are chaotic to say the least. Even if without such deliberate “mispronunciation”, the usual irregularity and variations are confusing enough. LOL.

          Liked by 1 person

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