Tag Archives: word means something else

Daily Post – Perusing on Through

Word Press Post A Day -This is clearly subjective, but some words really sound like the thing they describe (personal favorites: puffin; bulbous; fidgeting). Do you have an example of such a word (or, alternatively, of a word that sounds like the exact opposite of what it refers to)? What do you think creates this effect?

As I sat in therapy today, my therapist gave me a DBT Skill book about anxiety.  I of course, was having some trouble with my depression and anxiety and she told me to simply “peruse” the book.  Just look through some chapters…

Oftentimes, we hear a word, and we get this definition in our head of what it means.  Usually we understand the definition correctly, and what the word sounds like in the context and our sentences sound correct.  Others seem to be using it the same way as well.  There are many words that have come to sounds one way, but really mean the exact opposite though.  Ironic is the first one that comes to my mind.

However, for this topic of conversation — I am talking about the word “peruse.”  See, I was told to peruse through this book.  She didn’t want to overwhelm me, just to skim through it.  Unfortunately, peruse does not mean to skim through it or browse through reading something.  It actually means to carefully look through and pay attention to all the details.

According to dictionary.com

verb (used with object), pe·rused, pe·rus·ing.

1. to read through with thoroughness or care: to peruse a report.
2. to read.
3. to survey or examine in detail.
Of course, with how our English language works, we cannot be picky about words like this.  We have to pay attention to these context clues – who is talking to us, the tone of voice, the type of conversation, etc.  There are so many meanings behind words and how they have changed over the years, different slang terms, regional things, and things that haven’t been added or developed into our dictionaries.
So … as the next week goes on, I will peruse through this DBT book — perhaps I will just skim through it —- perhaps I will dive in deep reading every last detail.  I guess it depends on how interesting it is!