Stop us when this starts to sound familiar. You’re chatting away, having a great conversation, and then everyone seems to stop in their tracks. Did they just notice a giant chunk of basil in your front teeth? Catch a whiff of those garlic knots you had with lunch? Or, was it something about that word you used that has your friends’ shoulders shaking and their faces contorting with laughter?
Sometimes, we think we know the definition of a word, only to find out the real meaning is very different and very, very, VERY dirty. And, it’s not just us … whether they first read them in books or heard them in passing, fans of the Dictionary.com Twitter account were more than willing to share their very favorite “oh, I thought it meant …” moments.
The letter Y is a handy suffix. Tack it onto adjectives, and the word automatically gains the meaning “characterized by or inclined to” do the substance or action of the word or stem to which this handy (see, useful) suffix is attached. Worth becomes worthy, for example, or stick becomes sticky.
Adding a Y to horn technically does the same. Horny means “consisting of a horn or a hornlike substance.” But, as many folks learned some time around the fourth grade, it also means “sexually excited.”
the first time i played scrabble i happily added a y to horn thinking it meant something had a lot of horns .. like a synonym of spiky … https://t.co/bvfUKQ8zcl
— 🔍deb aka jimin's y/n🔎 (@theultimatedodo) December 18, 2018
“When I was a kid I thought ‘jizz’ was just another word for pee so me, my friend, and his sister were going around his house talking about jizzing in our pants and his parents got mad at us.”
WATCH: We Asked: The Weirdest Thing You Have Said To Fit In
There are some seriously silly names for fish breeds out there (we’re looking at you, panda telescope). But a word to the wise: Bastard is not one of them. It is, however, a vulgar slang word used to describe “a vicious, despicable, or thoroughly disliked person.”
Around age 6, I called my brother a bastard because I thought it was a type of fish… https://t.co/AEZgHask81
— Colleen Patton (@colleenpatton_) December 18, 2018
There was just one problem … “I was too young to understand why it was inappropriate for me to call him that even after reading the definition.” You live, and eventually you learn!
No matter what the kids on the playground tell you, bitch is not a synonym for “mean.” It may or may not be a vulgar word one might use to describe the person who told you that, though.
Called my little cousin a "b*tch" in 3rd grade cause a devil child told me it just meant "mean".
I was working on incorporating new words into my vocabulary 🤦🏾♂️ https://t.co/RevljCILaL
— Rai² (@treetachi) December 18, 2018
Twitter user @thereisnohurry remembers all too well when she learned that the word horror has one syllable more than the word whore. It was the night she told her grandma all about that cool whorehouse her class was creating for Halloween.
This is where we should mention she was also 9 years old.
Songs can always be counted on to teach kids adult concepts well before they’re ready.
If you listened to Heart’s “All I Want to Do Is Make Love to You” as a kid, you had fantastic musical taste, and hopefully someone eventually explained why everyone laughed at 6-year-old you saying the words “make love.”
I used to sing the song "All I Want to Do is Make Love to You" by Heart all the time as a kid, never understanding why my parents and their friends thought it was so funny https://t.co/6Qg409SVhL
— the OG ice bae 🐲☠️❄️ (@ceruleetheblue) December 18, 2018
Condoms are mighty handy when it comes to preventing sexually-transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies. Unfortunately for Twitter users @megandfigueroa, @ChesapeakeMatt, and many others, we all have to learn they’re not a nickname for condominiums.