7 Words You’re Using That Aren’t Words

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I’m all for word inventing. I tend to verbify nouns and smash two words together so that I get my point across better.

But I draw the line at speaking nonsense.

Some words are so common that we assume that they’re words. But they’re not.

I break down these fake words by their true definitions to prove that you need to obliterate these words immediately from your vocabulary.


The prefix ir-, like un- and in-, makes a word negative. Regardless means showing no regard. Put the two together and irregardless means not showing no regard.

And that doesn’t make any sense.

Irregardless arose from a bad meshing of regardless and irrespective. Stick to using one of these words instead.


The prefix re- adds “again” to a word’s meaning. Iterate means to speak again or repeatedly. So reiterate means to again speak again or repeatedly. The word itself is repetitive.

Get to the point. Only say iterate.


The prefix mis- means lack of or badly. Underestimated means an estimate at too low a value. Squish the two double negatives together and misunderestimated means lack of an estimate at too low a value.

In other words, misunderestimated is a complicated way of saying estimated.

Say what you really mean. Drop the mis-.


The prefix in- makes a word its opposite. Flammable means that an object easily burns. Push the two together and inflammable means doesn’t burn easily.

That’s not what you meant to say, huh?

This word may have a legit excuse. Inflammable is believed to derive from the Latin word inflammo meaning to burn. But we speak English, so say flammable.


Would you say alittle? Then why are you saying alot?

Alot is a misspelling of a lot. You’ll notice this when you try typing alot in a word processing program and it automatically puts a space between the two words.

Keep it as two words. Enough said.


Preventative is an unnecessarily longer version of preventive. Both words mean the same thing, but preventive is less repetitive and to the point. So drop that extra syllable.


The prefix un- reverses the action of the word. Thaw means to unfreeze or melt. So to unthaw means to un-unfreeze or un-melt.

It’s a long way of saying to freeze.

You can either freeze something or thaw it. Choose to say these words instead.

What fake words drive you crazy? Share below.


  1. Thanks. I’ve been guilty of using “reiterate” and “preventative”. Now I know!

    On Mon, Mar 17, 2014 at 8:05 AM, K.L.Wightman

  2. I’ve never heard “unthaw,” but it’s kinda funny.

    You know what term I can’t stand but appears to be a real word? Conversationalist. It should be conversationist. People engage in conversations, not conversationals.

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