Word of the Day : October 30, 2010

misconstrue

play
verb miss-kun-STROO

Definition

: to understand or explain wrongly : misinterpret

Did You Know?

In the 14th century, English speakers acquired the closely linked words "construe" and "construction." You may think of "construction" as a word having to do with building houses or highways, but it has long had other meanings, including "arrangement of words in a sentence" and "interpretation." Similarly, "construe" can mean "to analyze the arrangement and connection of words in a sentence" or "to interpret or explain." Both "construe" and "construction" come from the Latin verb "construere" ("to construct or construe"). The "mis-" of "misconstrue" was an English addition; it was added to "construe" in the 15th century to create a word meaning "to put a wrong construction (that is, a wrong interpretation) on."

Test Your Memory: What word did we feature earlier this month with the meaning "a showy object of little use or value"? The answer is ...


Examples

According to the candidate, her comments about the city's schools were misconstrued by the media.

"It's now been 10 years since humans deciphered the digital code that, in a very real sense, defines us as a species. It's hard to overestimate the significance of that achievement -- but easy to misconstrue what it means and where its true promise lies." --From an opinion piece by Dr. James P. Evans in Newsday, June 27, 2010




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