Thesaurus Abuse?

It started when we were watching the Olympics.  One of the Brazilian women’s beach volley ball players made the same play three times.  I don’t know the rules or techniques of beach volley ball, but the announcers were amazed that she would do this because it showed a lack of trust in her partner.  According to said announcer, she had “mis-mangled” the ball. Mis-mangled?  Does that mean she had mangled it in the wrong way?  Or had she meant to mangle it and accidentally improved it?  We never did figure that one out.

To my knowledge, Messner did not mismangle anything in her book.

Then a series of storms hit St. Louis and we were watching the weather.  People in the path were “implicated in the storm.” Hmm.  Does this mean that like the middle grade Eye of the Storm they were manipulating the weather in a naughty way?

I can almost get these two because I mis-speak on a regular basis.  Of course, I usually butcher proper nouns, most often names.  It is definitely embarrassing when it is someone I am speaking to.

But then I found two more instances of word abuse and these were in blog posts on a scientific site.

Apparently, to be in denial that something is possible is to practice “denialism.”

And you can also do things in a “tentative speculative fashion.”  I’m really not sure that I get how to do something speculative in a tentative way.  Does that mean that you are less certain, even more tentative, or that because you are being tentatively speculative that you are actually being more assertive?

Inquiring minds want to know — did some one “redecorate” the English language and forget to tell me?


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