A couple of weeks ago Jack Rosenthal had a column in the New York Times Sunday magazine. He offered words that are often used incorrectly–and he called them phantonyms.
His list reminded me of my own mental list of words I often see misused. So I’ve combined his list and my list and come up with a little quiz for you to test your knowledge.
Ready to play? For each word, choose the best definition.
1. Fulsome: a) brimming full, overflowing.
b) disgusting, excessive, insincere
2. noisome: a) aggravating
c) smelly, unhealthful
3. Enormity: a) great wickedness, a monstrous act
b) enormous, gigantic
c) not normal
4. disinterested: a) removed from a grave, exhumed
c) unbiased or impartial
5. enervated: a) exhausted
c) lifted above the ordinary
6. fortuitous: a) lucky
c) happening by chance
7. penultimate: a) next to last
b) the ultra-ultimate, the top or best
c) literally, the level top of a mountain peak
8. presently: a) now, in this moment
b) in a little while
c) bestowing a gift
9. restive: a) restless
c) stubborn, balky
10. notorious: a) famous
b) well-known for doing wrong
c) the actions of a notary public
11. inflammable: a) able to catch fire
b) unable to catch fire
Ready to score your answers? Correct answers are: 1-B, 2-C, 3-a, 4-c, 5-a, 6-c, 7-a, 8-b, 9-c, 10-b, 11: A and C. Flammable and inflammable mean the same thing. 🙂
How’d you do?