In a recent blog (Ferly is not necessarily feral but fairly close.) I closed with this question: “What are some other words that you know or have used in the past, only to find they don’t actually meant what you first thought they meant?”
Well today I thought I would start the ball rolling with one of my own. Another that I have long known and long erroneously believed I knew what it meant when I didn’t.
Of course I could legitimately use the argument that I had only ever heard the word pronounced and not written down. Because although Milquetoast is in fact pronounced “Milk- toast” it is both not milk toast, nor is it edible.
In fact Milquetoast, the Word of the Day for Sunday, October 9, 2011, actually means: A very timid, unassertive, spineless person, especially one who is easily dominated or intimidated.
And originates from the character of Caspar Milquetoast, a character in The Timid Soul, comic strip by H. T. Webster, an American cartoonist (1885-1952).
So there you are, that is another example of familiar words having different meanings than originally thought. Over to you now for some more examples please?