I have a confession, sometimes I get my words mixed up. Well, if you ask my kids they’ll say I usually ask them to take off “their shoes and put them in the refrigerator”or ask them to “wash their feet” instead of “brush their teeth.” It’s not that I’m a complete idiot, I just tend to throw words out of my mouth like pieces of a puzzle for others to put together.
When I started speaking Spanish regularly I messed up both languages and mixed Spanish metaphors with English ones and had my own version of Spanglish. I explained to my Spanish friends that I was an idiot in both languages since they thought I was only messing up their mother tongue.
I learned to laugh at my mixed-up speech (because I’m not famous and don’t have the media mocking me), but I still get frustrated when I discover that I have misused or mispronounced a word. I used to
steep seep my tea instead of seep steep my tea. I guess I wanted it to go through small pores instead of soak I don’t know. I honestly only started steeping my tea for about a year–I think–but maybe I was steeping all along? I am now so confused I don’t know what my tea is doing, but it should be steeping rather than seeping unless I want it to drip slowly as through a crack. Which means that maybe coffee actually seeps through the filter, and if you were to make tea in a tea maker it would actually be seeping and steeping at the same time?
Last night, while reading a book, I uncovered another word I misunderstood: jive. Have you ever wondered if something really jived with you? Apparently, quite a few people wonder the same thing, however, they should be wondering if something jibed with them.
According to the Maven’s Word of the Day this happens quite a bit so I’m not the lone idiot. The word jibe is the word you use when you are trying to say something is in “harmony or accord”. I don’t know where this came from, however, because the word jibe according to Merriam Webster Online Dictionary is to “utter taunting words or to deride or tease with taunting words” and jive is “swing music or the dancing performed to it” or “glib, deceptive or foolish talk.” I think we should be able to say that “jives with me” meaning that “swings with me.” To confuse it all a bit more jibe (or gybe in British English) is when a “sailing boat turns it’s stern through the wind”– which is supposedly where we got the “harmony or in accord” definition. What turning a stern through the wind has to do with something being in harmony is beyond me.
So, your lesson today is, if you want to say that something agrees with you, or is in harmony with you you would say “that jibes with me.” However, if you want to say that something is foolish you would say “that doesn’t jive with the facts.” To avoid confusion, I’m determined to only use the word jive when I’m swing dancing and jibe when I’m sailing. Does that jibe with you?