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Orange-flavored muffins sound like a relatively innocuous concept but in reality are quite a hit-or-miss affair. They either hit the spot perfectly, providing the right amount of comfort, like revisiting your favorite bands from your adolescent years or completely disappoint like when you realize those bands are somehow still on tour. Orange flavored muffins, like most orange-flavored desserts, sometimes have trouble negotiating how much orange is really necessary. Some when food is orange flavored, it just means that it almost tastes like something. …

Here are this week’s words, their actual definitions, and what I wish they meant

  1. Obfuscate

Actual definition: a) to confuse or make unclear, muddle, b) to confuse, bewilder, or stupify

Actual example: Faculty had designed Middelschol Middle School’s health program to give the kids clear information regarding drugs, yet the police officers they brought in tended to obfuscate the information using scare tactics.

Wishful thinking definition: Skating in polygon-shaped patterns

Wishful thinking example: Taylor told her parents she signed up for homework club, but in reality she was obfuscating at the ice rink by herself every day after school.

2. Incommensurable

Actual definition: a) having no common basis, measure, or standard of comparison, b)…

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So I’ve been keeping track of words with definitions I think I know and then actually looking them up. Here are this week’s words, their actual definitions, and what I wish they meant:

  1. Grounding

Actual definition: (noun) training or instruction in the fundamentals of a field of knowledge

Actual example: Despite Zena’s grounding in animal activism, she still applied to be an elephant trainer at the circus, telling herself that she’d fight the system from the inside.

Wishful thinking definition: a) (noun) Any animal that lives underground, b) (gerund) being grounded (punished)

Wishful thinking example: After Maura begged her mother to let her get a gopher as a pet, she got a lecture about how groundings cannot be pets. When Maura snuck one in anyway, she received a grounding of three weeks


Sixteen years ago, learning vocabulary meant picking up a dictionary bigger than my baby brother, lugging it to a table, trying not to drop it on my toes, and then flipping through thin pages while mumbling the alphabet to myself. Now, I can just open a new tab on my computer, which is all I seem spend my time doing anyway.

However, I do not look up words. Because I always found dictionaries daunting, I developed a tendency to assume I know what words mean. I’ve just started graduate school, which means I’m back into academic reading. Academics, famously, cannot…


Former comedy person turned educator and media literacy nerd. I spend most of my time on public transit, receiving unsolicited advice from strangers.

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