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When I was young, I'd try to make my mother laugh by telling her jokes. She'd usually roll her eyes and remark dryly, "That's hilarious." So for many years, I believed that "hilarious" meant "not very funny."
When my uncle got "ten-year" (tenure!) at the university, I thought he had a job for 10 years, so I wondered why his position was secure for life (and why they didn't call it something more accurate!)
When I was a kid and was misbehaving at my grandparents' house, my grandfather, who was an Army veteran, told me if I didn't shape up he'd "put me on report". I then would turn around and tell my mom when my parents got back that he said he was going to "put me on the porch".
I used to believe people could use up all their words and my dead great-grandmother who wasn't speaking used up her words.
I used to pronounce and spell the word 'both' B-O-L-T-H until I was a senior in high school. One of my friends paused my sentence and asked why I was talking so weird. I came home that night and listened to my dad speak and realized I had been imitating the way he said it.
One time when I was in my backyard, I was playing with this baby toy, which probably belonged to my sister, but I'm not really sure. It was one of those toys that vibrate when a cord is pulled. I decided to have a little fun with that toy by biting the handle at the end of the cord with my teeth and letting go with my hands. It made my head vibrate, and my vision "vibrated" along with it. I went and told my dad, who was in the backyard as well. I told him that when I let go of the toy while biting the handle, it made my eyesight "blorry." He didn't know what I meant, and I was also confused because my dad was the first person I heard that word from (the correct word, of course, but I misheard). After some frustrating discussion, my dad finally figured it out, and he explained to me that the word I intended to say was not "blorry," but rather "blurry."
When I was little, I pronounced "variety" veye-ar-it-ee, and kept trying to correct my Dad for pronouncing it wrong.
You know that saying long time no see. Well, I used to believe that it meant that some one has seen that other person so long ago, that the sea dried out - as in no sea.
My dad would say "Go to buggery" when he was mad (its an aussie expression, means get lost, or screw you). I'd ask him where that is. He said it was far away, but I decided buggery was just down the road where there was a grumpy old lady who would yell at us. Sometimes he told us to go to buggery and I'd run down the street and sit in front of her house.
There was a cartoon sketch on Sesame Street where a comical guy wearing a barrel talked in rhyme about where all his clothes went. "These are the flies that made off with my ties... these are the moths that ate up my cloth... this is the glutton who ate my last button!" That last had a visual of a squirrel-type critter picking up a button and swallowing it. I thought for a while after that that a glutton was some kind of rodent.
One time in kindergarten, my class had to do this sheet that said, "I have ____ letters in my name." You had to fill in the number of letters in your name. But I didn't know that the space where you fill in missing words is called a "blank," so I misunderstood my teacher when she read the question aloud as "I have blank letters in my name." I thought you had to write the word "blank" in the blank! I also asked how to spell it!
until I was about 12 or 13 (now 20) I thought "making ends meet" was "making ends meat" and that "ends meat" was a really cheap type of meat, and that when people said that, they meant that they were making just enough to afford that meat.
I used to believe that no one really spoke with an American accent, and that it was just something they put on for TV.
I didn't know that "people" was plural for "person," and I actually thought it meant grown-ups. (Possibly because we would always be in big groups of people who are mostly adults)
I use to think "Pardon me" was French for please excuse my Eiffel tower. makes no sense it just sounded french and that was all I knew about France the Eiffel tower
When I was younger, I thought that some how the Spanish people could speak German, and vice versa, for some weird reason.
i used to think Greenwich Mean Time (GMT, uk) was "Village Green Time" and when i asked why, i was told it was because back in the day there was only one sun dial in the town and people would all go by it.
When I was young, I remember hearing my dad say that a co-worker of his was fired. Not knowing the meaning of 'fired' at the time, I pictured his co-worker being attacked a literal wall of fire.
"Better than sliced bread"
I used to believe 'Sliced Bread' was a musical band.
I thought that Saturday was actually "Sadderday" because it was some how sadder than the other days of the week!