Isn't it annoying when someone pulls a Sinatra? On 6/14/16 I declared Can This Be Right? - a blog series started five years earlier - had run its course and was being retired just like Ol Blue Eyes claimed he was doing perhaps a dozen times. But a recent conversation with another language geek (married to a word nerd - lucky guy!) persuaded me to revive my moribund series once more. The deal was sealed when - 1.) my new word soulmate told me to eschew obfuscation; 2.) he cited the word enervated - a gem I'd already used in Can This Be Right? - to test me. Would I be offended if he described our conversation thus? and; 3.) followed up our recondite talk by mailing me a letter (!) containing several esoteric words I'd not considered over the eight iterations of my beloved series. How could I resist such erudition, delivered via snail mail?
For the uninitiated, I posit the following three words - like all that have preceded them in my august series - have meanings that many people would not guess because the words simply sound like they mean something entirely different. Doubt any of the entries in what I call the McGaughran Iteration of Can This Be Right? Try an experiment. Use any of these in a sentence correctly and see if others don't question you about your use of the word.
fungible: being of such a nature or kind as to be freely exchangeable or replaceable for another of like nature or kind. Huh? Can this be right? I'd bet even money that no one would correct you if you told them they had something fungible stuck in their teeth that was grossing you out.
miasma: a dangerous, foreboding or deathlike influence or atmosphere. This one belongs in the same league as prosaic. That is, I'd wager people might be flattered if you said their conversation was prosaic and their home had a certain miasma, even though you'd be insulting them, twice.
noisome: offensive or disgusting, as an odor. I dare you. The next time someone passes gas, try telling them how noisome they are. What do you bet me they ask - "You heard that? Sorry!"