Different Words Mean

Different words mean different things to different people and the same words mean different things to different people or yet again, different words mean the same thing to different people, literally.

A good place to start is literally. Literally means actually. Literally is often used instead of its opposite, figuratively which means symbolically. Traffic was so bad that he literally blew a gasket. This would mean that he blew a gasket, if we were talking about the driver blowing a gasket then that would be figuratively speaking of course as humans do not have gaskets.

Different words mean

Different means not the same, novel or unusual. However, we can use different from a conceptual level instead of a literal level. His consistency, because he is usually inconsistently inconsistent is different. In addition we can use different words for the meaning of different which mean the same thing such as unlike, dissimilar, changed or diverse to name just a few.

English being the dynamic language it is means that words could eventually change meaning. The same word can have different meanings to different people. This is one of the wicked things about English. Wicked can mean evil or awesome, great and wonderful. However, that is slang. There are words that have just changed meaning like the word decimate which literally meant one tenth when created but now means to destroy or to reduce.

Notorious is another word that has changed meaning from known to infamy. Originally it would have been correct to state that Winston Churchill was notorious for his in-depth understand of English and wit. If we asked someone today what Churchill was notorious for they might answer for smoking cigars or drinking. We might state that Charles Manson is notorious.

Other examples of the same words having different meanings to different people would be when we compare British English with American English. Ace to a Brit means good or excellent, to an American it means to perform outstandingly. Common to both languages is the highest or lowest card of any suit in a deck of cards, an ace in tennis where a serve is not returned or a fighter pilot that is exceptional as in a fighter ace.


A further example of different words that mean the same thing to different people would be words used in countries where English is not the native language but is spoken. In Thailand the word brother or sister is used to refer to a person as a great or best friend. In native English countries, to refer to a best friend as a brother would be considered slang. Brother and sister refer to varying levels of blood lines. She is my sister, we have the same mother and father. She is my half-sister, we have the same father or mother and she is my step sister, we do not share a common bloodline but one of each of our parents is married together.

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Different words mean different things according to who is using them as well. The IRS uses alien to refer to humans and full retirement age to refer to the level of benefits you receive based on the age you retired.