Say some percent of the English speaking population started using the word "sky" to replace the meaning of "cloud", at what percent would you be wrong in using the word "sky" to refer to the sky.


1 Answer 1


I agree with Irene in saying this question can be given no definite answer, as it seems (by the way its phrased) to ignore factors such as the context, location, period and culture (etc.) in which the word is used, which would (over time) contribute to the accepted understanding of the word.

Furthermore, words don't become "wrong" or "right" overnight, or when they reach a certain "acceptance percentage" with the population. Words generally fade/evolve with time and adopt totally new meanings or simply fall away. Once again, it is also important to note that they don't fall away or change globally, but normally in a small community that may or may not spread that words new meaning to other places. And even when the overwhelming majority may understand a word by a new meaning, it may still be considered "correct" to understand the word by its old meaning.

One (admittedly poor) example of this is use of the word "Incredible" which is normally taken to be akin to "amazing" or "awesome", but is also taken (a bit more archaically) to mean "not believable". Both meanings are correct, even though one (or both) may fall away in the future.

The question may be more viable with more information, but as it stands, I agree with Irene's comment.


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