SKUNKED TERM: a word or term that experiences confusing change in its meaning

When a word’s meaning changes dramatically to the point of being confusing, it is referred to as a skunked term. In Bryan Garner’s, Garner’s Modern American Usage, he points out “When a word undergoes a marked change from one use to another–a phase that might take ten years or a hundred–it’s  likely to be the […]

SHALL: plan to, intend to

It’s not a new debate for linguists and other wordsmiths, but I suspect most ordinary people haven’t really thought about the use of the word shall.  Those of us who were in public school a half century ago labored over the word, learning “rules” that determined when we should use the word shall and when […]