Monday, October 26, 2015
Ron from Traverse City was surprised when he came across the word disused in a novel, since he can’t remember seeing it before in print. It’s part of a cluster: disused, unused, and misused. Let’s take each in turn.
Disused: For the most part, this word is now considered obsolete. Originally, it meant out of the habit (Living in Florida, I am disused to cold weather). It is sometimes used in place of unused or empty (The rave was held in a disused warehouse), but that’s not quite standard usage.
Unused: Empty or not made use of (The unused portion of the loaf of bread was tossed when it developed mold). It can also mean unaccustomed (Unused as I am to public speaking, I get very nervous in front of an audience).
Misused: Used improperly (He misused books as doorstops) or abused (Animal Control stepped in when he misused his horses).
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