As I'm dealing a lot of recipes and text on cooking written in English, I'm confronted all the time with a trend which makes understanding quite hard sometimes.
The original French word "sauté" has a very specific meaning. It requires very high heat, so high that the vegetable pieces would scorch if left for more than a few seconds on the pan - so they are continuously moved around in a "jumping" motion. This is the meaning which is used in cooking textbooks like The professional chef, and also in the Wikipedia article. This is what cooking professionals are taught, and what they think about, when they see the word.
There are tons of recipes published in popular media which start with "sauté the onions". From a culinary point of view, "sauté" (in its professional meaning) would be the wrong thing to do, or at least suboptimal. But from my observation, nobody is doing it anyway. What they are doing is "shallow frying" the onions, with other, more specific words, also applicable in some cases, such as "sweating" and "caramelizing".
By now, I have seen such prevalence of the term, that I think it's fair to say that it can be considered a second meaning. We have the worst sort of polysemy: the same word is used by two groups (but confusingly in the same domain) with two conflicting meanings.
Can anybody shed some information on when this trend started, and is there known evidence for the reasons why it started at all?