Words with Multiple Meanings

Just a short post here – the story of how I realized yesterday that using the wrong word might get you in big trouble.

First, the background:  Have you noticed how confusing English can be?  One reason is because we have words that are spelled the same, yet have different meanings, and sometimes even different pronunciations.

The bandage was wound around the wound.  Or:  My Polish friend uses a great shoe polish. Or: She sat in the bow of the boat with a red bow in her hair. Or:  You don’t have to wind a windmill.  Or:  He was standing so close that I couldn’t close the door.

So what happened yesterday?

Well, first, I volunteered to work at a 4-H BBQ, and had a wonderful time.  It’s their major fundraiser for the year, and the group of young people volunteering were such impressive young men and women.  (It gives me great hope for the future of our country.)  Since I was carpooling to the BBQ with a friend, I left my purse, etc. at her house so I wouldn’t have to keep track of anything.  I only took my $10 bill and stuck it in my pocket with my ticket “just in case”, and we were off.

It was Redding Hot, and by the time I returned home, I was extremely sweaty.  I tossed my clothes in the washer, and took myself to the shower.  When the clothes were clean, I took them out of the washer to hang them up, and discovered that $10 bill.  It had come out of my pocket, and was sitting there in the bottom of the washer.  It was extremely damp, but very clean.

Feeling rather stupid, but trying to be positive about it, I told myself, “Well, you just laundered your $10 bill.”, and suddenly realized that “launder” was Not the word I wanted to use.  (Of course, “laundering money” refers to terrible people doing awful things, and how they make their money not traceable back to the bad stuff they’ve done.)

I realized I should tell people, “I washed my $10 bill in my washer.”   Tripped up by English!

So, if you hear me say, “I laundered my money.”, Please know I mean I washed a bill in my washing machine because I accidentally left the bill in my pocket. 🙂  And that’s my tip for the day – watch out for those words with multiple meanings.




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