Special Report

36 Old Words We Use Today But With New Meanings

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Remit

The verb remit has several meanings, including to send money or to send back to a lower court. Long ago, it also meant to diminish, and it retains a similar meaning when a judge remits — or reduces — a sentence for good behavior.

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Repair

A repair was once an abode or haunt. Now it’s commonly used to mean to fix or make good, although you can still repair to your favorite haunt for drinks.

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Speed

Speed was an Old English word meaning success or prosperity, but came to mean rapidity of movement and rate of movement, whether fast or slow. More recently, speed has been used as street slang for amphetamines, drugs which stimulate the central nervous system.

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Truck

Truck, from the French troquer, entered the English language in the 13th century and meant an exchange or transaction. It has retained this meaning in the expression “to have no truck with.” Now, to most people, a truck is a vehicle that carries heavy loads, and in this sense it may derive from the Greek word trokhos, or wheel.

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Visionary

Visionary once meant existing only in the imagination. It has since acquired a more optimistic meaning — a person who sees things as they will or should be.