Over the last few months in Idaho, we have been seeing a trend in the reactions of our readers about the usage of certain words. In some cases, it isn’t that we use the wrong word but that others think the word means something else or that we could have used a better word.

Words Idahoans Often Get Wrong

For those who might not like the way we say something, here’s what I tell my kids: just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean I’m wrong. In conversation, there are a variety of words you could use in any given situation to express an idea. Any of the word choices could be right, but by choosing something different than what the listener would have chosen you may accidentally convey the wrong message.

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These are words we often use that have been perceived as being incorrect:

  • Indefinitely: means for an undetermined amount of time. This does not mean forever. If a business closes indefinitely it means they plan to open again but don’t know when or have a timeline.
  • Unique: means one of a kind or unlike anything else. Unique does not mean something is uncommon or quirky, though something quirky could also be unique.
  • Ironic: means the opposite of what was expected. Sometimes ironic is used rather ironically as just something strange or an odd occurrence.
  • Rants and Raves: means to complain about or praise something. Yet if you read through the rants and raves pages on social media you’d think those words meant ‘I have a question’.
  • UFO: means an Unidentified Flying Object. It doesn’t specifically mean an alien spaceship. I could see something in the sky that I can’t recognize and call it a UFO. This is happening more often as shooting stars, Starlink satellites, and alien spaceships pop up.
  • Southern Idaho: means anything in the southern part of Idaho. If you cut Idaho in half to make a north and south section, all the locations on the bottom half would be Southern Idaho including Boise, Twin Falls, Cascade, Salmon, and Pocatello.
  • Not Far: is actually subjective, but sometimes not far is actually pretty dang far. Someone told me once that Lewiston wasn’t far from Twin Falls. It is in fact far from Twin Falls covering 422 miles and a 7-hour drive.
  • Deep Seated: This one isn’t so much the definition but the actual words used. Many Idahoans use the word ‘seeded’ instead of ‘seated’ which kind of still makes sense and jives better with the farming community. But 'Deep Seated' is the actual phrase.
  • Til: means a shortened form of until. If you add another 'L' to the end you then get the farming term to cultivate the ground and it also means the same thing as ‘til and until. It just depends on how you use it in your sentence structure.
Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash
Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash

Why Word Usage Is Important In Writing

If you made it this far, you have no doubt already judged some of the word choices I made in the previous paragraphs. You may have felt misled by some of the choices I used as words we don’t understand. You may have also been miffed that I said we don’t understand the words rather than saying that we use them improperly, but that doesn’t mean I was erroneous in my verbiage and you are culpable for your own cantankerous stance.

Words Idahoans Often Get Wrong

In some cases, it isn’t that we use the wrong word but that others think the word means something else or that we could have used a better word.

Words that Mean Different Things in Idaho

Idaho is different, in the best ways possible. Here are some words from movoto that have deep meaning here in Idaho but in other places mean something different and usually less exciting.

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