How many times a day do you think the world infamous is used wrong? Once? Twice? I can't tell you how many times I have heard someone say they want to be infamous, when what they really want is fame. I'll also hear someone talk about how 'infamous that guy over there is', when he's really just a nobody, and they feel sorry for how unknown he is.
I know the difference between fame and infamy, but it turned out I didn't know enough. I knew infamous wasn't the exact opposite of famous. Famous simply means known by many people. What I didn't know, was that infamous was actually considered a synonym of famous! The antonym for famous is unknown.
Infamous actually means to be well known for some bad quality or deed, which I also did not know; though, I knew there was some bad connotation that went along with infamy. I realized, as I do every time I define a word, that I didn't really know. Not in my conscious, ever present mind, at least. There are so many words that I think I know the definition of, but I really don't. We really don't, and I have a theory.
I think that people are so used to needing to prove that they know everything. It starts off as something as simple as, 'I bet you didn't know that one!' Someone gloats about knowing something that you didn't and all of the sudden you have this big chip on your shoulder because you didn't know. Now you're constantly going around saying, 'I already knew that. Of course I knew that.'
Don't lie; we are all guilty!
We don't want anyone thinking we are less educated than they are. It's human nature! We want to prove that we are better than everyone else. Be honest! It makes us feel good when we get to gloat! And it's okay. I'll be honest and admit that I'm guilty of it, too! I'll say, 'Oh yea, sure. I knew that.' Then I'll turn around and ask Google what in the world that person was talking about. It's funny, really, and sad.
As a writer, I try to be more conscious; I try to do this less and less, because it's bad! It's a terrible habit. I find I'm no longer too proud to ask, 'Well, what does that mean?' When I became serious about writing, my pride went out the window and I became a sponge, wanting to soak up every ounce of knowledge I can. Especially now, when it comes to words.
Knowledge and intelligence, I think, is situational. We shouldn't be walking around with big chips on our shoulders, worried about who is smarter because of what they know. Someone who knows everything there is to know about mechanics isn't smarter than someone who doesn't. Someone else could know equally as much, quantity wise, about physics. We shouldn't be afraid or ashamed to learn from each other.
The next time you don't really know something, ask! I'm sure whoever has the knowledge will be more than happy to share it, and you'll walk away knowing something new.
As always, thank you for taking the time to read. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to leave a comment below and contribute. After that, feel free to share this post with your friends. Tweet at @TresaWriter and let me know your thoughts! Happy reading and writing!