Most of us don't like grammar cops. I get it. And yes, language evolves, so new words come to the fore, or their usage changes over time. I get that, too.

But in these changing times, have we been misusing words without knowing their meaning? Let me give you some examples of commonly misused words.

Disinterested doesn't mean uninterested. It means unbiased, as in a dispute should be resolved by a disinterested judge.

Dichotomy means there's a split or a difference, right? No, a dichotomy means two alternatives that are very close to each other, almost hugging.

Homogeneous, pronounced homo-genius, is a pasteurized corruption of homogenized. So the population wasn't homogeneous; it was a melting pot or a culturally homogeneous neighborhood.

Happening just recently, in our melting pot of New England, the word "plantation" has become a battle cry. Rhode Island took legislative steps to eliminate the p-word from Providence's name because people associated it with an Antebellum slavery plantation. And recently announced, Plimoth Plantation is changing its name soon, dropping "plantation" and using Plimoth and Patuxet next to each other with a blue swirl in between. However "plantation," now being misused, refers to a village or settlement and has absolutely no connection to slavery.

I understand why language is constantly adapting and changing to reflect our changing lives, experiences and cultures. On the other hand, I also get the picture that it's not just the words themselves which change; the way in which we use them can shift, too.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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