First, thanks, Theresa, for Write or Die. It helped me get my quota done. :)
I'm theoretically on vacation, which means that I feel guilty when I work, and guilty when I don't work. The 21st Century is just that way.
But anyway, I bought some "seeded rye bread" and got to thinking about words that could logically mean different things. Like does "seeded" mean "with seeds" or "without seeds?" You know, "weeded" means without weeds, and "pitted" means without pits. But when a lawn is seeded, it means that it's got seeds. (The bread did have some seeds, but not many.)
Long ago, I worked on the history of a state's newspapers (it actually was pretty interesting), and we had to come up with a stylesheet for frequency of publication. Here are how newspapers described themselves:
Bi-weekly was used to mean that the newspaper was published twice a week. Or maybe it meant every two weeks. We decided to use bi-weekly" (two-week) to mean every two weeks, but then "tri-weekly" always meant three times a week, so.... (And don't even get me started on the whole hyphen issue-- several staff meetings held about that.)
We'd actually see all of those to mean every X weeks or X times a week/month, with no rhyme or reason.
I of course decided to punt, and said I would use "twice-weekly" and "thrice-weekly" and "every two months," etc., so that (I hoped) it would be clear, and you know, one man (or woman) can make a democracy, as someone once maybe said, and everyone meekly followed me (for the first and last time so far :).
So how would you use that? And what are some other examples of that sort of word-confusion? I remember when "inflammable" meant something you shouldn't light on fire because it was flammable. :)