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Front Page » September 21, 2010 » Opinion » The Wasatch Behind
Published 1,439 days ago

The Wasatch Behind


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By TOM MCCOURT
Sun Advocate Columnist

In the English language, it is common for one word to have more than one meaning. That is one of the reasons people from around the world find English to be one of the most difficult languages to master. Sometimes a word is pronounced the same but spelled differently, depending on use and meaning, such as "bear" and "bare."

We all know that a bear is a fuzzy animal with big teeth, and we know that when we bare it all we are naked. But then we can bear arms and barely know our neighbors. Sometimes we can hardly bear to go back to work, but then we grin and bare it. We can usually bear a temporary economic setback if we bear down, spend wisely and have the bare necessities. It is all very confusing for people with English as a second language.

Then, some words are spelled and pronounced exactly the same but have dual meanings, depending on how they are used. The word "shower" is a good example. A shower can be a soft summer rain, a bathing facility, or any bunch of things coming at you. We shower our children with love and affection and then watch a meteor shower at night from the back porch. We have showers for brides-to-be and newborn babies, but the bad guy on TV goes down in a shower of bullets. Again, sometimes it's all very confusing.

And then, some words have very subtle dual meanings. Here are a few:

*Investigator - An alligator purchased as an investment.

*Bacteria - Behind the cafeteria.

*Cartoon - "Little Deuce Coupe" by the Beach Boys.

*Carrion - Luggage you can take on an airplane.

*Catatonic - Health drink for cats.

*Clodhopper - A grasshopper from southern Utah.

*Confound - A rearrested escapee.

*Impeccable - Not afraid of chickens.

*Debonair - A millionaire named Debra.

*Debutante - A jeering remark about millionaire Debra.

*Decapitated - A bottle without a lid.

*Demarcation - Removing graffiti.

*Denominator - A delegate at a political caucus.

*Dictatorship - A boat owned by Fidel Castro.

*Disappointment - The appointment happening now.

*Mood - You're "It" in a game of cow tag.

*Dublin - What the national debt is doing.

*Germination - Where the Germans live.

*Decadent - A dent in a fender that's 10 years old.

*Horticulture - Call girl redemption.

*Hostile - Ceramic tile with pictures of horses.

*Halter - What Republicans want for Nancy Pelosi.

*Hemisphere - Near the bottom of her skirt.

*Herbicide - Where you take Herb to give him bad news.

*Hexagon - A successful Italian exorcism.

*Infer - What polar bears are wrapped in.

*Iran - What Saddam Hussein did when America invaded.

*Latex - A sissified French cowboy.

*Intern - Next in line.

*Intuition - Hoping for good news.

*Nautical - Twins that are not identical.

*Navigate - Entrance to the Navajo reservation.

*Nominee - Not my knee.

*Probate - Fishing lures used by professionals.

*Promenade - Chaperone for a high school dance.

*Rampage - Dodge truck advertisement.

*Varicose - Nearby.

*Nitrate - Cheaper than the day rate.

*Euthanasia - A Russian princess.

*Insidious - Living in the city.

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September 21, 2010
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