Page:A Desk-Book of Errors in English.djvu/155

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Errors in English

that is, misunderstood, is a very different thing from telling him that he mistakes or personally misunderstands.

The Standard Dictionary treating this word says: The anomalous use of mistaken has naturally attracted the attention of speech-reformers; we ought to mean, "You are misapprehended or misunderstood," they tell us, when we say "You are mistaken, and if we mean "You are in error," we ought to say so. But suppose the alleged misuse of mistaken gives rise to no misunderstanding whatever—that everybody, high or low, throughout the English-speaking world, knows what is meant when one says "You are mistaken"—in that case, to let alone seems to be wisdom. The corruption, if it be one, has the sanction not only of universal employment, but of antiquity.

mitten: An obsolete substitute for glove now revived as a colloquialism in the phrase to get the mitten, that is "to get the glove with the hand withdrawn: said of a rejected suitor for a lady's hand." An allied phrase is to give the mitten to. None of these is used in polite society.

moment, minute: These words are not exactly synonymous. A moment is an infinitesimal part of time; as, "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye" (I Cor. XV. 52). A minute is the sixtieth part of an hour. One does not take a minute to wink the eye.

monetary. Compare financial.