Oh language…

As I have traveled I have often been asked to clarify American phrases or define words.

Conversely, I was taken aback when a woman told me of a relationship with a man and said “he molested me.” I had to check that out, had to get used to people saying things like that and mothers telling children to stop molesting each other.  These people are using the word perfectly as it means: “pester or harass (someone), typically in an aggressive or persistent manner” but because Americans use the word to mean “assault or abuse” we have dropped that everyday use of the word and molest carries strong connotations.

So anyway, today I was looking up annoyed, angry, and mad to see how I can explain them to someone and I was struck by the cyclical definitions. 

Per the New Oxford American Dictionary, 2nd edition, 2005 by Oxford University Press, Inc.

annoy |əˈnoi|
verb [ trans. ] (often be annoyed)
irritate (someone); make (someone) a little angry  

angry |ˈa ng grē|
having a strong feeling of or showing annoyance, displeasure, or hostility; full of anger 

I’d have never thought of saying angry for displeasure or hostility.

Oh, mad was well defined, clearly saying:
informal very angry

Oh the pitfalls of inter-language communication….

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