That word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Among her living-language peers, English tends to live rather large. She's changing all the time, and most of the changes are fun. I love it when books or movies make me think of words in a different ways, but in a few cases, they've completely altered the meanings of some words. Or in the immortal words of Inigo Montoya (of The Princess Bride... has anybody on the planet not seen this movie?): "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

Words Regency romances ruined for me

When I read an interesting condition, I always think pregnant.

Similarly, confinement and lying in are polite references to childbirth.

When I read ruined, I always think got laid.

rake is not a garden implement, though he might sometimes be a tool.

Words erotica ruined for me

When I read ejaculated, I think male sexual climax. I never think that the character has spoken loudly or suddenly, and the phrase ejaculated loudly makes me giggle every time. Penises don’t talk.

When I read moist… no, that was a gross word to begin with, even before erotica got hold of it.

Words science fiction also ruined for me

When I read shiny I think Firefly. (I do not consider this ruining, though. Thinking of Firefly makes me happy.)

When I read Noooooo I think Luke.

When I read wired, I used to think (Wired magazine) or (tethered VR) or pre-wireless mice or generally old-school, deprecated tech.

But now I think this:



In a wireless age, plugging in just got sexy again.

Available April 4, 2017 | Pre-order at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

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Note: This blog post first appeared on Romance Writers Behaving Badly and is cross-posted here.

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