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When someone accidentally stepped on a charging cable and the charger gets unplugged from the socket. Can you say "you dislodged the charger from the socket?"

If this is not the correct usage of the word "dislodge", please could you elaborate in what contexts should dislodge be used and in what it should not be?

Thank you!

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Technically, you could say "you dislodged the charger from the socket", it would not be incorrect, but you probably wouldn't say this. Let me explain.

The original definition of the word "lodge" refers to temporary quarters: you find "lodging" while you are traveling (somewhere to stay in the meantime). You don't generally use the word "lodging" to refer to your home, it is somewhere you stay that is not your home.

From this original definition comes a derived use of the word, where you would describe an object as being "lodged" somewhere. The object has been placed in a position where it stays, but was not it's original place. Because of this implication of it not being the "home" or original place for the thing that is "lodged", this use of the word has developed an association with something being unnaturally stuck somewhere it does not belong. So if a wrench is "lodged" in the wheel of a machine, it is not just lying inside the wheel: it is firmly fixed inside the wheel, probably not easy to remove, and potentially causing problems by being there.

"Dislodge" means to remove something that is lodged. So generally it would be used to describe removing something that is stuck in a position it should not be. Hence, to say you "dislodged" the charger from the socket implies the charger was somehow stuck in the socket or otherwise misplaced, as opposed to merely being plugged in where and how it ought to be.

(If someone trips on the charging cord and the charger comes unplugged from the wall, a more appropriate term might be something like "yanked", which means to "to pull on something with a quick vigorous movement". So you could say "You yanked the charger out of the socket!")

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  • Nice answer. My only criticism is of the idea that being where it should not be is an attribute of lodging. To dislodge something is merely to displace it from where it is, not necessarily from where it should not be.
    – Anton
    Nov 24, 2020 at 8:32
  • I agree with Anton here. Upon further research I found examples like "The earthquake dislodged several boulders from the cliff." & ""government opponents failed to dislodge the Prime Minister" which are both contrary to the explanation of removing from a place where it should not be.
    – Sai
    Nov 24, 2020 at 14:34
  • Yes, it doesn't have to be "where it should not be", this is just one of the possible implications. It can be that and/OR just mean "firmly fixed". So something can be firmly affixed or secure somewhere and be dislodged, even if that place isn't somewhere it "shouldn't be." (Though in your second example, Sai, I would say the government opponents think the current prime minister is somewhere he should not be! They are trying to remove him XD)
    – MarielS
    Nov 26, 2020 at 0:35

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