This post was done as an answer to a challenge from one of my fellow bloggers. 🙂 Here are eight words and/or phrases that sound <ahem> inappropriate for polite society, but actually aren’t.
1. DONGLE | From the computing industry, we have the suggestive sounding dongle, an often small or compact attachment that connects to a laptop, desktop PC, or even a gaming console via an onboard port to extend system functionality, usually by enabling speed and/or networking enhancements (and from the same industry, ‘male-to-male’, ‘male-to-female’, ‘female-to-male’ and ‘female-to-female’ are used to describe cable-to-cable connections, and ‘dirty heads’ refer to disk drive actuator heads that have gotten dust or other foreign particles on them).
2. HOTPOT | There’s no illegal dope in this dish. It is, however, a personal favourite for cooking food and one that is generally healthier too — especially compared to other culinary methods, including baking, deep-frying, and barbequeing.
3. KAKA | Not to be confused with caca, the scatalogical euphemism for poop, the Kaka is an endangered medium-sized grey parrot native to New Zealand. The New Zealand Kaka is also the only surviving parrot species of three to bear the Kaka name (the other two being the extinct Norfolk Kaka and Chatham Kaka).
4. MASTICATE | The act of chewing should be done at least 30 times before the food enters the stomach as a bolus. At least, that’s what I’ve read and heard as a child. Not to be confused with other verbs with the “-ate” suffix, like congregate, fabricate, obfuscate, obliterate, pontificate, and, well, use your imagination.
5. PIANIST | I’ve always called those–including myself–who tickle the ivories (or their modern day equivalents) piano players. For reasons obvious. Homonyms can be untrustworthy things, especially for those who are not paying attention.
6. SHUTTLECOCK | I am so glad that birdie is the more accepted way of describing the plastic or feathered projectile that badminton players have to whack over the net these days. I suffer from sports terminology dyslexia: even though I have engaged in said sport several times a year for many years, I still, in the heat of battle, mistakenly refer to the birdie as a ball. You can imagine what I call that yellow round projectile employed on tennis courts.
7. TIGHT END | (since we have been inundated with Super Bowl mania for the past three weeks, and a decisive and dominant Seattle Seahawks 43-8 victory yesterday which proved to be a less-than-an-auspicious beginning to the Year of the Horse for the Denver Broncos). A football position that combines the position and functions of an offensive lineman and a wide receiver is a term, despite my longstanding unfamiliarity with it, that has always made me titter.
8. TITS | Speaking of tittering, the tits are adorable, highly vocal, but drab-coloured little birds who regularly visit my suet and seed feeders in flocks of five to ten at a time. Which, to my great amusement, they did most recently two days ago, while blatantly ignoring me in the backyard.