Another word for not seen

Another word for not seen DEFAULT

A synonym is simply a word that means the same as the given word. It comes from the Greek “syn” and “onym,” which mean “together” and “name,” respectively. When speaking or writing, one of the best ways to expand your vocabulary and to avoid using the same words repeatedly is to use a thesaurus to find synonyms (similar meaning words). A thesaurus is a general phrase that describes a type of dictionary that provides a list of words that have the same or similar meaning as the word referenced. For example, if you were to look up the word “beautiful,” you might get a listing of more than thirty words that have similar meanings. There are many forms of a thesaurus from Roget’s Thesaurus, authored by Peter Mark Roget and published in 1852, to online materials available from companies that specialize in educational resources.

Why is it Important to Use Synonyms in your Speech or Writing?

It is important because synonyms can help you enhance the quality of your writing by providing your readers with a crisp and unique outlook of your text. Furthermore, it can also improve both your oral skills and your writing skills, as noted in the following section.

What are the Benefits of Using Synonyms in Writing?

Some of the benefits of using synonyms are that they can:

  • Make text much more captivating.
  • Help avoid dull text.
  • Improve communication between you and others.
  • Help provide an image in the mind of the reader.
  • Help avoid boring and repetitive text.

Related: Having difficulty with language and grammar in your thesis? Check out these helpful resources now!

For example, instead of using the word “beautiful” several times in your text, you might use synonyms such as “gorgeous,” “stunning,” or “ravishing” to better paint a picture of your description. Using just one word repeatedly will ensure that you will lose the attention of your audience simply out of boredom!

It is quite easy to build your arsenal of synonyms, and the list of tools later in this article will help you get started. As with any efforts to increase your vocabulary, it is helpful to keep a journal or list of new words to which to refer. It is also helpful to use those new synonyms often to keep them in your memory. The more you use new words, the more quickly they will come to mind in your oral or written presentations.

Avoiding Plagiarism using Paraphrasing with Synonyms

Plagiarism is a serious issue for writers and editors and is considered copyright infringement. It is particularly serious for academic researchers because plagiarizing someone else’s work in a research document can diminish or even destroy their professional credibility. Any works that you refer to in your writings that are not your original thoughts or ideas should be correctly cited and referenced. Must you always use direct quotations? Not necessarily, but any part of the original text that you include in your paraphrased text should be in quotation marks.

Paraphrasing allows us to reduce a very lengthy quotation by using fewer words to convey the same message, and it can help avoid the temptation to use too many quotations. This is where synonyms come in handy, but you must be mindful of what words to use.

How to Paraphrase Without Plagiarizing

When paraphrasing, be sure of the following points:

  • The words you choose to replace the original idea are true synonyms. For example, the original phrase, “It was a dark day,” could mean more than one thing. It could mean that the weather was gloomy or that the person’s mood was somber and depressed.
  • Be sure that you grasp the original idea and use words that will convey the same meaning.

Recommended Tools/Websites for finding Synonyms

Several books and websites can help you build your dictionary of synonyms. One of the most often used publications is Roget’s Thesaurus, which is available in both hardcopy and electronically after downloading from an online source. Below are some of the recommended tools/websites for finding appropriate synonyms:

  • The Visual Thesaurus® is an interactive dictionary that allows you to type in a word for which you want a synonym and then creates “word maps” of related words. It also provides definitions.
  • is another interactive reference tool that not only provides and other related words, but also categorizes them based on complexity and length, and whether the word is used formally or informally. The site also features a “word of the day” as an aid for building your vocabulary.
  • provides synonyms, antonyms, definitions, and even translation of the word into several other languages.
  • Reverso Dictionary not only provides synonyms but also translations of a word in other languages.

Learning to use synonyms effectively can help you better communicate your ideas. Clear and concise text using a variety of synonyms can provide your readers with more interesting reading that will hold their interest. After all, this is ultimately the goal in academic writing so that new topics and research can be clearly presented to anyone interested.


How To Learn New Words While You’re Writing | Grammarly Spotlight

Quick, how many synonyms can you think of for handy? We’ll give you a second . . .

How about convenient, nearby, helpful, beneficial, usable, or advantageous? If you thought of all those off the top of your head, we’re impressed! If you didn’t, well, neither did we. We used Grammarly’s handy (and helpful, convenient, etc.) double-click synonym feature. It’s just one of the unique ways Grammarly works to help you improve your vocabulary.

A strong vocabulary is essential for good communication, which is why Grammarly offers several ways to help you learn and use new words.

How to learn new words by double-clicking for synonyms and definitions

Mark Twain once said that the difference between the right word and the almost right word is like the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. When you’re staring at a word that’s almost right, Grammarly makes it easy to find the one that’s perfect.

Want to give improving your vocabulary a try? Next time you’re writing with Grammarly’s browser extension, double-click a word you’ve written to see a list of synonyms. (This works in the Grammarly Editor, too.) Clicking one of the synonyms automatically inserts it into your text.

Here’s a tip: If you’re double-clicking but not seeing any synonyms, click the green Grammarly logo on your browser’s toolbar. Then, click the switch next to Show Definitions and Synonyms via Double Clicks.

Want to learn new words even when you’re just browsing the web? Double-click a word on nearly any website to see a brief definition.

Improve your vocabulary with vocabulary enhancements

See if you notice a difference between these two sentences:

How about these?

Or these?

Each of these examples contains a word that’s not pulling its weight. In the first sentence, “walked” doesn’t fully describe what Sarah is doing, so we need to amplify it with “quietly.” But there’s another, better word that captures both ideas: “crept.” In the second example, “remove completely” becomes “eradicate,” and in the third, “very strange” becomes “bizarre.”

Grammarly Premium automatically flags vague or bland words and suggests vivid synonyms that your readers will find more engaging. Give it a try and you may just learn a new word that fits your sentence perfectly.

Improve your vocabulary by detecting overused words

The problem with finding a word you love is that it’s tempting to use it everywhere. Sometimes, it’s just too much of a good thing. Using the same words over and over makes your writing sound clunky and repetitive.

Fortunately, Grammarly Premium catches overused words that appear repeatedly in the same piece of text and guides you toward other words and phrases to help you learn new words that you can use to add some variety:

More from Grammarly Spotlight:

How Do Grammarly’s Products Work?

Why Concise Writing Gets More Readers

Why Hedging Language Undermines Your Writing

How to Select Your English Dialect

Splitting Paragraphs for Easier Reading

How We Use AI to Enhance Your Writing

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  2. Kitchenaid dishwasher beeping blue light
  3. High school basketball preseason rankings
  4. Nerf running boards ram 1500

Synonyms for Not important:

What is another word for not important?

20 synonyms found


[ nˌɒt ɪmpˈɔːtənt], [ nˌɒt ɪmpˈɔːtənt], [ n_ˌɒ_t ɪ_m_p_ˈɔː_t_ə_n_t]
  • adj.

    • incidental,
    • extraneous,
    • unrelated,
    • inconsequential,
    • immaterial,
    • unimportant,
    • insignificant,
    • pointless,
    • inapplicable,
    • wide of the mark.
    Other relevant words: (adjective)
    • beside the point,
    • irrelevant,
    • not at issue,
    • beside the question,
    • not to the purpose,
    • nihil ad rem,
    • beside point,
    • wide of mark,
    • off the subject,
    • wide of the point.


14 OVERUSED ENGLISH WORDS - Stop Using Them! Use these alternatives


This shows grade level based on the word's complexity.


not seen; unperceived; unobserved; invisible.

recognized or comprehended without prior study, as a written text or musical score.



We could talk until we're blue in the face about this quiz on words for the color "blue," but we think you should take the quiz and find out if you're a whiz at these colorful terms.

Question 1 of 8

Which of the following words describes “sky blue”?

Origin of unseen

1150–1200; Middle English unsene, unsehene;see un-1, seen

Words nearby unseen

unseduced, unseeded, unseeing, unseelie, unseemly, unseen, unsegregated, unselfconscious, unselfish, unsell, unsentimental Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Words related to unseen

unnoticed, undiscovered, undetected, lurking, invisible, imaginary, imagined, dark, occult, concealed, impalpable, impenetrable, imperceptible, inconspicuous, obscure, out of sight, unobtrusive, unsuspected, veiled, curtained

How to use unseen in a sentence

  • That number is higher than the official case count because it includes an estimate of infections that go unseen, unfelt, or unreported.

    Population immunity is slowing down the pandemic in parts of the US|David Rotman|August 11, 2020|MIT Technology Review

  • For creatures at these depths, trying to swim here unseen is “like trying to play hide and seek on a football field,” says Karen Osborn.

    Superblack fish can disappear in the deep sea’s darkness|Erin Garcia de Jesus|August 10, 2020|Science News For Students

  • Instead they are spotted as shadows crossing in front of their stars, or inferred as unseen forces tugging at their stars.

    This is the first picture of a sunlike star with multiple exoplanets|Lisa Grossman|July 22, 2020|Science News

  • Such eyes in the skies, WMO notes, can record extremes that might otherwise go unseen.

    Lightning megaflashes set big new distance and duration records|Carolyn Gramling|July 21, 2020|Science News For Students

  • They thought these must have been created by unseen exoplanets — planets outside of our solar system.

    Developing planet emerges in a swirl of gas|Lisa Grossman|July 6, 2020|Science News For Students

  • I walked home alone, in the dark, all the unseen voices of that evening still ringing in my ears.

    Sex, Suicide, and Homework: The Secret World of the Telephone Hotline|Tim Teeman|November 20, 2014|DAILY BEAST

  • The presence of the chicken feet protects and preserves the unseen but nonetheless unbreakable bonds of love and family.

    ‘Gods of Suburbia’: Dina Goldstein’s Arresting Photo Series on Religion vs. Consumerism|Dina Goldstein|November 8, 2014|DAILY BEAST

  • She said that whenever she came into the room, she had felt the radiation of a vast and unseen force.

    Those Kansas City Blues: A Family History|Katie Baker|October 24, 2014|DAILY BEAST

  • In the play, Gallagher plays Jimmy, who has been friends with the unseen Sam for more than 25 years.

    Into the Grindr of the Gay Dating Game: Sex, Death, and Aging in ‘Stealing Sam’|Tim Teeman|September 18, 2014|DAILY BEAST

  • Unseen and unknown, he lived in secret, creeping into homes in the dead of night and surviving on what he could steal.

    The Daily Beast's Best Longreads, Aug 24, 2014|The Daily Beast|August 24, 2014|DAILY BEAST

  • No notice being taken of the taps, the unseen visitor, after a short lapse, ventured to open the door and peep in.

    The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, v. 2(of 2)|Charles Dickens

  • At last, tired of fighting an unseen foe, the men arose to their feet, and with a wild cheer sprang forward.

    The Courier of the Ozarks|Byron A. Dunn

  • And Punch would get out of bed with raging hate in his heart against all the world, seen and unseen.

    Kipling Stories and Poems Every Child Should Know, Book II|Rudyard Kipling

  • Her feet crush creeping things: there is a busy ant or blazoned beetle, with its back broken, writhing in the dust, unseen.

    God and my Neighbour|Robert Blatchford

  • He glanced sharply from face to face, feeling as though some silent, unseen process were changing everything about him.

    Three More John Silence Stories|Algernon Blackwood

British Dictionary definitions for unseen


not observed or perceived; invisible

(of passages of writing) not previously seen or prepared


mainlyBritisha passage, not previously seen, that is presented to students for translation

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Other Idioms and Phrases with unseen

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.


Not seen word for another

Synonyms (Database Engine)

APPLIES TO: SQL Server Azure SQL Database Azure Synapse Analytics Parallel Data Warehouse

A synonym is a database object that serves the following purposes:

  • Provides an alternative name for another database object, referred to as the base object, that can exist on a local or remote server.

  • Provides a layer of abstraction that protects a client application from changes made to the name or location of the base object.

For example, consider the Employee table of Adventure Works, located on a server named Server1. To reference this table from another server, Server2, a client application would have to use the four-part name Server1.AdventureWorks.Person.Employee. Also, if the location of the table were to change, for example, to another server, the client application would have to be modified to reflect that change.

To address both these issues, you can create a synonym, EmpTable, on Server2 for the Employee table on Server1. Now, the client application only has to use the single-part name, EmpTable, to reference the Employee table. Also, if the location of the Employee table changes, you will have to modify the synonym, EmpTable, to point to the new location of the Employee table. Because there is no ALTER SYNONYM statement, you first have to drop the synonym, EmpTable, and then re-create the synonym with the same name, but point the synonym to the new location of Employee.

A synonym belongs to a schema, and like other objects in a schema, the name of a synonym must be unique. You can create synonyms for the following database objects:

Assembly (CLR) stored procedure

Assembly (CLR) scalar function


SQL scalar function

SQL inline-tabled-valued function


Assembly (CLR) table-valued function

Assembly (CLR) aggregate functions

SQL table-valued function

SQL stored procedure

Table* (User-defined)

*Includes local and global temporary tables


Four-part names for function base objects are not supported.

A synonym cannot be the base object for another synonym, and a synonym cannot reference a user-defined aggregate function.

The binding between a synonym and its base object is by name only. All existence, type, and permissions checking on the base object is deferred until run time. Therefore, the base object can be modified, dropped, or dropped and replaced by another object that has the same name as the original base object. For example, consider a synonym, MyContacts, that references the Person.Contact table in Adventure Works. If the Contact table is dropped and replaced by a view named Person.Contact, MyContacts now references the Person.Contact view.

References to synonyms are not schema-bound. Therefore, a synonym can be dropped at any time. However, by dropping a synonym, you run the risk of leaving dangling references to the synonym that was dropped. These references will only be found at run time.

Synonyms and Schemas

If you have a default schema that you do not own and want to create a synonym, you must qualify the synonym name with the name of a schema that you do own. For example, if you own a schema x, but y is your default schema and you use the CREATE SYNONYM statement, you must prefix the name of the synonym with the schema x, instead of naming the synonym by using a single-part name. For more information about how to create synonyms, see CREATE SYNONYM (Transact-SQL).

Granting Permissions on a Synonym

Only synonym owners, members of db_owner, or members of db_ddladmin can grant permission on a synonym.

You can , , and all or any of the following permissions on a synonym:









Using Synonyms

You can use synonyms in place of their referenced base object in several SQL statements and expression contexts. The following columns contain a list of these statements and expression contexts:




When you are working with synonyms in the contexts previously stated, the base object is affected. For example, if a synonym references a base object that is a table and you insert a row into the synonym, you are actually inserting a row into the referenced table.


You cannot reference a synonym that is located on a linked server.

You can use a synonym as the parameter for the OBJECT_ID function; however, the function returns the object ID of the synonym, not the base object.

You cannot reference a synonym in a DDL statement. For example, the following statements, which reference a synonym named , generate errors:

The following permission statements are associated only with the synonym and not the base object:

Synonyms are not schema-bound and, therefore, cannot be referenced by the following schema-bound expression contexts:

CHECK constraints

Default expressions

Schema-bound views

Computed columns

Rule expressions

Schema-bound functions

For more information about schema-bound functions, see Create User-defined Functions (Database Engine).

Getting Information About Synonyms

The catalog view contains an entry for each synonym in a given database. This catalog view exposes synonym metadata such as the name of the synonym and the name of the base object. For more information, see sys.synonyms (Transact-SQL).

By using extended properties, you can add descriptive or instructional text, input masks, and formatting rules as properties of a synonym. Because the property is stored in the database, all applications that read the property can evaluate the object in the same way. For more information, see sp_addextendedproperty (Transact-SQL).

To find the base type of the base object of a synonym, use the OBJECTPROPERTYEX function. For more information, see OBJECTPROPERTYEX (Transact-SQL).


The following example returns the base type of a synonym's base object that is a local object.

The following example returns the base type of a synonym's base object that is a remote object located on a server named .

Related Content

Create Synonyms

Something Heartfelt - \


This article is about the general meaning of "synonym". For other uses, see Synonym (disambiguation).

Words or phrases having the same meaning

A synonym is a word, morpheme, or phrase that means exactly or nearly the same as another word, morpheme, or phrase in a given language. For example, in the English language, the words begin, start, commence, and initiate are all synonyms of one another: they are synonymous . The standard test for synonymy is substitution: one form can be replaced by another in a sentence without changing its meaning. Words are considered synonymous in only one particular sense: for example, long and extended in the contextlong time or extended time are synonymous, but long cannot be used in the phrase extended family. Synonyms with exactly the same meaning share a seme or denotational sememe, whereas those with inexactly similar meanings share a broader denotational or connotational sememe and thus overlap within a semantic field. The former are sometimes called cognitive synonyms and the latter, near-synonyms,[2] plesionyms[3] or poecilonyms.[4]


Some lexicographers claim that no synonyms have exactly the same meaning (in all contexts or social levels of language) because etymology, orthography, phonic qualities, connotations, ambiguous meanings, usage, and so on make them unique. Different words that are similar in meaning usually differ for a reason: feline is more formal than cat; long and extended are only synonyms in one usage and not in others (for example, a long arm is not the same as an extended arm). Synonyms are also a source of euphemisms.

Metonymy can sometimes be a form of synonymy: the White House is used as a synonym of the administration in referring to the U.S. executive branch under a specific president.[5] Thus a metonym is a type of synonym, and the word metonym is a hyponym of the word synonym.[citation needed]

The analysis of synonymy, polysemy, hyponymy, and hypernymy is inherent to taxonomy and ontology in the information-science senses of those terms.[6] It has applications in pedagogy and machine learning, because they rely on word-sense disambiguation.[7]


The word is borrowed from Latinsynōnymum, in turn borrowed from Ancient Greeksynōnymon (συνώνυμον), composed of sýn (σύν 'together, similar, alike') and -ōnym- (-ωνυμ-), a form of onoma (ὄνομα 'name').[8]

Sources of synonyms[edit]

Synonyms are often some from the different strata making up a language. For example, in English, Norman French superstratum words and Old English substratum words continue to coexist.[9] Thus, today we have synonyms like the Norman-derived people, liberty and archer, and the Saxon-derived folk, freedom and bowman. For more examples, see the list of Germanic and Latinate equivalents in English.

Loanwords are another rich source of synonyms, often from the language of the dominant culture of a region. Thus most European languages have borrowed from Latin and ancient Greek, especially for technical terms, but the native terms continue to be used in non-technical contexts. In East Asia, borrowings from Chinese in Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese often double native terms. In Islamic cultures, Arabic and Persian are large sources of synonymous borrowings.

For example, in Turkish, kara and siyah both mean 'black', the former being a native Turkish word, and the latter being a borrowing from Persian. In Ottoman Turkish, there were often three synonyms: water can be su (Turkish), âb (Persian), or (Arabic): "such a triad of synonyms exists in Ottoman for every meaning, without exception". As always with synonyms, there are nuances and shades of meaning or usage.[10]

In English, similarly, we often have Latin and Greek terms synonymous with Germanic ones: thought, notion (L), idea (Gk); ring, circle (L), cycle (Gk). English often uses the Germanic term only as a noun, but has Latin and Greek adjectives: hand, manual (L), chiral (Gk); heat, thermal (L), caloric (Gk). Sometimes the Germanic term has become rare, or restricted to special meanings: tide, time/temporal, chronic.[11][12]

Many bound morphemes in English are borrowed from Latin and Greek and are synonyms for native words or morphemes: fish, pisci- (L), ichthy- (Gk).

Another source of synonyms is coinages, which may be motivated by linguistic purism. Thus the English word foreword was coined to replace the Romance preface. In Turkish, okul was coined to replace the Arabic-derived mektep and mederese, but those words continue to be used in some contexts.[13]

Uses of synonyms[edit]

Synonyms often express a nuance of meaning or are used in different registers of speech or writing.

Different technical fields may appropriate synonyms for specific technical meanings.

Some writers avoid repeating the same word in close proximity, and prefer to use synonyms: this is called elegant variation. Many modern style guides criticize this.


Synonyms can be any part of speech, as long as both words belong to the same part of speech. Examples:

  • noun: drink and beverage
  • verb: buy and purchase
  • adjective: big and large
  • adverb: quickly and speedily
  • preposition: on and upon

Synonyms are defined with respect to certain senses of words: pupil as the aperture in the iris of the eye is not synonymous with student. Similarly, he expired means the same as he died, yet my passport has expired cannot be replaced by my passport has died.

A thesaurus or synonym dictionary lists similar or related words; these are often, but not always, synonyms.[14]

  • The word poecilonym is a rare synonym of the word synonym. It is not entered in most major dictionaries and is a curiosity or piece of trivia for being an autological word because of its meta quality as a synonym of synonym.
  • Antonyms are words with opposite or nearly opposite meanings. For example: hotcold, largesmall, thickthin, synonymantonym
  • Hypernyms and hyponyms are words that refer to, respectively, a general category and a specific instance of that category. For example, vehicle is a hypernym of car, and car is a hyponym of vehicle.
  • Homophones are words that have the same pronunciation but different meanings. For example, witch and which are homophones in most accents (because they are pronounced the same).
  • Homographs are words that have the same spelling but different meanings. For example, one can record a song or keep a record of documents.
  • Homonyms are words that have the same pronunciation and spelling but different meanings. For example, rose (a type of flower) and rose (past tense of rise) are homonyms.

See also[edit]


  1. ^K.4375
  2. ^Stanojević, Maja (2009), "Cognitive synonymy: a general overview"(PDF), Facta Universitatis, Linguistics and Literature Series, 7 (2): 193–200.
  3. ^DiMarco, Chrysanne, and Graeme Hirst. "Usage notes as the basis for a representation of near-synonymy for lexical choice." Proceedings of 9th annual conference of the University of Waterloo Centre for the New Oxford English Dictionary and Text Research. 1993.
  4. ^Grambs, David. The Endangered English Dictionary: Bodacious Words Your Dictionary Forgot. WW Norton & Company, 1997.
  5. ^"World Architecture Images- The White House". Retrieved 2019-12-09.
  6. ^Hirst, Graeme. "Ontology and the lexicon." Handbook on ontologies. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 2009. 269-292.
  7. ^Turney, Peter D. (2008). "A Uniform Approach to Analogies, Synonyms, Antonyms, and Associations". Proceedings of the 22Nd International Conference on Computational Linguistics - Volume 1. COLING '08. Stroudsburg, PA, USA: Association for Computational Linguistics: 905–912. arXiv:0809.0124. ISBN .
  8. ^Oxford English Dictionary, 1st edition, 1919, s.v.
  9. ^Bradley, Henry (1922). The Making of English. Macmillan and Company, Limited.
  10. ^Ziya Gökalp, The Principles of Turkism, 1968, p. 78
  11. ^Stavros Macrakis and Angelos Tsiromokos's answers to "Are there any words in English which are synonyms but have separate ancient Greek and Latin origin and the Latin word is not etymologically derivative of the older ancient Greek?" on [1]
  12. ^Carl Darling Buck, A Dictionary of Selected Synonyms in the Principal Indo-European Languages, 1949, reprinted as ISBN 0226079376
  13. ^Geoffrey Lewis, The Turkish Language Reform: A Catastrophic Success, 1999, ISBN 0198238568, p. 44, 70, 117
  14. ^"Synonym dictionary words and phrases". Retrieved 2018-04-27.

External links[edit]

Look up synonym in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

You will also be interested:

9 Words and Phrases You’re Probably Using Wrong

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Many times, especially in business settings, people use words that they think they know — but don’t. Although they do this in an effort to sound intelligent and sophisticated, it backfires badly, because even one small slip-up can cause an audience to focus on only that, not the speaker’s ideas. Sure, saying the wrong word (usually) isn’t a game-changer. But if you make that kind of mistake, it sets you up for a question that no one wants clients, coworkers, or employers to begin asking: “Are you really that smart?”

Think it can’t happen to you? We’ve heard horror stories: people laughing behind a prominent CEO’s back for his not understanding the correct use of a business term; a corporate lawyer saying “tenant” (a renter) instead of “tenet” (a belief); an employee toasting her supervisor as the “penultimate” leader (which doesn’t mean “ultimate” but instead means “next to last”).

Here, excerpted from our new book, That Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means, are nine terms or words that sound smart but when used incorrectly make you sound the opposite, along with real examples of their being misused, drawn from business news reports, research publications, and corporate press releases. (We’ve omitted attributions to protect the well-meaning writers who unwittingly committed the errors)

begs the question

“Fidelity might have fired the last salvo by eliminating fees entirely. This begs the question as to whether Fidelity’s new funds incur any hidden costs or fees.”

In spite of popular thought, “begs the question” is not a smart-sounding way of saying “raises the question.” It’s actually a formal logic term that means trying to prove something based on a premise that itself needs to be proved. So leave “begs the question” where it technically belongs — in the realm of logic and law — and use the (correct) “raises the question” when that’s what you’re trying to say.

impacts on

“They can clearly and simply explain what we have done and how it impacts on our interpretation of the data, ensuring our reports are understandable and actionable.”

In a 2015 American Heritage Dictionary survey of language experts, 79% disapproved of using “impacts on” to mean “affect.” Another 39% disapproved of using “impact” to mean “affect” even without that preposition “on.” The original (and still most common) meaning of “impact” involves collisions. But nowadays, you can use it to mean “to affect” (without any collisions). But leave out that preposition “on.” That might impact (affect) your business presentation.

in regard(s) to

“[I]n regards to the new well, the production capacity of this first large size production well is remarkable.” 

This sentence is wrong. Not regarding the remarkable production capacity, but regarding “in regards to,” which should be “in regard to.” Even better, just say “regarding” or “about.” (For the record, “regards” with the “s” is correct in the phrase “as regards,” where “regard” is a verb.) In regard to the phrase “in regard to,” regard is a noun, and the singular — without the s — should always be used. The exception is when sending someone good wishes — “best regards” — or when giving your regards to, say, Broadway, as in the song. After all, you probably wouldn’t want to wish Broadway only one regard.


“[S]tart-ups are leaving the heartland and are employing less people.

Technically, at least according to some word snobs, it should be “fewer people,” not “less people.” Why? It all depends on if and what you’re counting. A few basic rules:

  • Use “fewer” for numbered, countable things, especially people or other plural nouns. (“Fewer than 20 people were there.”)
  • Use “less” for things that can’t be counted, at least reasonably. (“There’s less sand at the beach.”)
  • Use “less” with numbers when they are a single or total unit, usually with “than.” (“Less than 50 percent of us went to the meeting.”) This can be tricky, because often you’ll see numbers in the plural — as in “He has less than a million dollars” — that presumably have been counted (as in rule 1). But since here we’re really talking about total amounts of nonhuman things, use less. (Don’t blame us — those are the basic rules that many people follow. Still, it’s all less — not fewer! — difficult than you’d think.)


“We have…failed to require that the IRS utilize only secure and reliable authentication methodologies…” 

Methodology is an annoying word that has oozed into a lot of places, especially government documents and annual reports, probably because it sounds important…and pretentious. The word to use instead is “method.” The “-logy” tacked onto the end of method transforms it into the study of methods. (That -logy ending comes from the ancient Greek λογίa for “the study of.”) So methodology has its place in English — it’s just that it should stay there and not substitute for method. (One interesting note: The IRS itself, in contrast to the senator speaking about the IRS, almost always uses the word method instead of methodology. Count on tax professionals to use a more economical word.)


“Whether you need to appoint a Data Protection Officer or not is a mute-point.”

Actually, it’s not a mute point at all, because a point isn’t speechless. It should be moot, not mute. But even spelled right, moot is tough to use correctly. The use of moot is, well, moot…and we’re not being cute. What we’re saying is that the meaning of moot is “open to debate” — which is the time-honored definition of moot. But by the mid-1800s, moot also began meaning “something not worth considering.” The idea was that something debatable is of no practical value, so not worth bothering with. So sometimes moot is used to mean “definitely not debatable” because the point is so immaterial. This change in meaning is primarily North American, and it is one that has stuck, although language purists argue about it. Our advice: Choose another word.

statistically significant

Facebook is ‘a positive, significant predictor of divorce rate….’ [T]he study’s authors feel they’re noticing something that’s genuinely statistically significant.”

You see it all the time nowadays: A study has shown something worrisome! The findings are statistically significant! Uh-oh! But statistically significant doesn’t necessarily mean that the results were significant in the sense of “Wow!” It just means that they signify that whatever was observed has only a low probability of being due to chance. The problem is, in nonstatistical use, significant means something noteworthy or important. So nonstatistical types see “statistically significant” and think it refers to something big. But actually a study can find something statistically significant that has only a tiny effect. For example, Facebook could increase the risk of divorce by a statistically significant 1%. Big deal.


“The Skyline Group of Companies is one of Canada’s fastest-growing and most unique investment management organizations…

Unique means being the “only one of its kind; unlike anything else.” So something can’t be the “most unique” — it can only be unique. But times are changing. Some dictionaries, like Merriam-Webster, now also define unique as “extraordinary,” although Merriam-Webster does say that this “common usage is still objected to by some.” Include us in the ranks of the “some” (although we’re not as impassioned as the New York Times book reviewer who called this usage of unique an “indefensible outrage!”). Let’s keep unique meaning, well, unique. For plural things that we want to call unique, we can instead say “unusual” or “exceptional.” So we could say that Skyline is an “exceptional” investment management organization…but let’s leave that to the PR department.


“Among the goals of the partnership will be to utilize Vium’s technology to track digital biomarkers…”

Substitute “used” for “utilized.” Does it make a difference? The only one we can see is that utilized is longer. So why use it? Yes, “utilize” can be distinguished from “use” when something is serving a purpose that it wasn’t intended for (“She utilized her dead tablet as a doorstop”), but it’s a slight distinction and “use” can still work. Utilize can also mean “to convert to use,” most often in scientific writing. (“The body utilizes carbohydrates.”) Even here, use can work, although it sounds a lot less scientific for some reason. In general, utilize is just a fancy way of saying use, and is usually best not  used at all.

These nine words are only the tip of an iceberg. From “a priori” to “untenable,” words can work for you or against you. And that’s our last (not penultimate!) word, at least in this article, on the words that can trip you up.


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