You Keep Using That Word

You Keep Using That Word

“You keep using that word.  I do not think it means what you think it means.”

Words mean different things to different groups of people.  I’ve been noticing this more and more as I hang out on Twitter and other online places.  Several times I’ve felt a weird mental double-take with unexpected words.

Here are my examples, what are yours?


To me this is a short-hand for my sexuality, known (stupidly IMHO) as “devotee” or “devoteeism.”  To the people at my work place and the geeky places I hang out online, this is short for “developer.”  It makes me jump every time someone at work calls out, “Who has the dev copy?”


To me and others in the disability rights field, this is short for “paraplegic.” To my friends in the romance book world it is short for “paranormal,” as in “paranormal romance.”  Several times on Twitter I’ve misinterpreted something about a paranormal romance in…interesting ways.

Tell me about the words that you’ve found with different meanings in different groups…


  1. Steve Richer
    Aug 29, 2011

    Spotted dick. To inhabitants of the British Isles it is apparently a dessert. To me it’s a rare medical condition!

  2. Kimberlee Turley
    Sep 3, 2011

    Somehow ended up cruising through all of these covers for the “A Writer’s Journey” contest and this caught my eye. (You’ve got so many other fun links on your site as well!) If you’re a fan of The Princess Bride, I have an old blog post on Publishing & The Princess Bride here:

    Good luck with the contest.

    • RuthMadison
      Sep 3, 2011

      Awesome! Thank you. I’ll go and read your post. The Princess Bride is so great. Really, who doesn’t love it? 🙂

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