The fashion industry is so often criticized for its lack of diversity and for imposing unrealistic standards of beauty, so too for New York Fashion Week. That’s why shows like this definitely make their mark, not because the designs have been any more innovative, but because certain fashion designers have become much more innovative in their selection of models.
These models show to the world that you can still make a statement in serious couture even with a disability. Fashion should be a reflection of the individual and the society it represents, therefore, it is far from immune to the dysfunction that currently plagues the world at large, whether it’s racism or prejudice. Catwalks that include a diverse range of people from all backgrounds offer a much-needed breath of fresh air in the status-quo, infusing the fashion world with inspiration and innovation – and isn’t that what fashion is all about?
It seems that fashion designers are starting to pay more attention to all the people that they’re dressing rather than just the designs themselves. After Jamie Brewer, the first Fashion Week model with Down syndrome strutted down the runway for Carrie Hammer, FTL Moda followed in her footsteps by featuring models with disabilities in its show titled “Loving You.” The designs were created by Antonio Urzi. Antonio Urzi is well known for creating some of the offbeat costumes worn by Lady Gaga.
Among the fierce models was Jack Eyers, who became the first-ever male amputee to work the show’s catwalk. “Being the first male amputee model on a Fashion Week runway feels amazing, it feels like such a huge deal. I just want to point out that having a disability doesn’t need to hold you back.”
These models are, without question, people of great beauty, if not ones that fit into the narrow perspective considered the norm for high fashion.
40+ Non-Native English Speakers Shared Phrases They’ve Been Confusing For a Really Long Time
Moving to a country where English is the predominantly spoken language can be challenging in many aspects for a non-native. While blending into the culture can pose a challenge (or two), the use of language can be more troubling. In most cases, understanding idiomatic expressions, the meaning of words and pronunciations are the confusing things for non-native speakers. Here are some stories of people who’ve made such mistakes ignorantly.
All of a Sudden
A German moved to America at the young age of 16 and a commonly used expression the teenager heard was “all of a sudden.” He translated this as “Oliver Sudden.”
Since the teenager thought Oliver Sudden is an actual popular guy, the questions that kept coming to mind is who is the frequently mentioned Oliver Sudden? And why is he famous? Little did the German know it was the fast manner of speech and the American intonation that makes all of a sudden sound like Oliver Sudden.
I Second That
Sometimes it’s imperative to know the meaning of some phrases before making use of them to avoid saying the wrong thing.
“I second that” was misinterpreted as “I disagree” by an individual. So when a female colleague complained about putting on weight during the holidays, “I second that” was the response the guy used, when he actually meant “I disagree.” But since he said it ignorant of the real meaning, the expression has confirmed the fear of the lady rather than disagree with it.
This the height of wrongly applied expression and it’s an example that serves as a warning to many still making the same mistake. So without ascertaining the meaning of ” booty call,” a lady went ahead to tell a group of friends her dad booty called her.
The utter shock on their faces helped her realize booty call isn’t when someone calls by accident — by sitting on their phone. Too late, the expression was used wrongly but good the notion was corrected among friends.
Paint the Town Red
Here is a simply hilarious one. So apparently someone somewhere took “paint the town red” to mean a massive fight or a destructive act. Take a moment to laugh (it’s just funny).
Well, considering the “red” in the phrase, it’s enough reason to think this means something violent is about to occur. Thankfully this person hasn’t called the police on people who have used those words, else it would have been a quite complicated and surprising scene. But good enough, that never happened.
The Cool Camp
At times it may not be a phrase, it might be an misinterpreted word like someone in the UK who took camp to mean cool. In all cases cool should be used, camp replaced it. For example, someone said, “I like your shoes, it’s really cool.”
Also, someone said, “those shoes are really camp bro.” Or in another case, “you need to meet my camp friend James” instead of saying “you need to meet my cool friend James.” Turned out not only was the word used wrongly but it meant a ton of things that carry really different meanings, far from what was intended.
Bloody Weather, Bloody Week
Popular in the United Kingdom, non-native speakers may find it a challenge to know what “bloody” means when used as an adjective. Some think it meant the “time of the month” for women.
So if someone mentions either the weather, week, or month, non-native speakers connects the bloody to mean an alternative way to say their period. Unknown to such ones, it’s merely a slang used when people converse informally.
Intimidate and Intimate
It’s surprising, but someone thought intimidate and intimate could be used interchangeably. It’s funnier if examples are considered. Imagine saying “Sheryl intimated me with her plans” is now expressed as “Sheryl intimidated me with her plans”.
The meaning is so different. Yet someone actually used both words interchangeably thinking both meant the same. Definitely, lots of people would have been confused or interpreted what the individual meant wrongly. Well, it wasn’t their fault.
A shared post from a Reddit user explained how “all but” was interpreted wrongly. For example, “the fight is all but decided” was interpreted as “the fight was decided.” It turned out the meaning is the opposite of what it was thought to be.
According to the user, it took 22 years of living in a English country and 10 years of learning English to get the correct meaning. So over the years, the translation of sentences containing “all but” had been interpreted wrongly– too bad.
Think of a scenario where the response given to “how come” is that of “How?” Here’s a real-life experience to explain. Someone was asked how come he is at a location. And rather than state the reasons, he went into the details of “how” he booked a flight, the type of flight booked, before he was interrupted and told what “how come” meant.
How embarrassing it might have been but it’s a good thing it happened with a friend. An encounter with a stranger would be worse.
Daniel here thought kickstart meant starting a fight or provoking a person to fight. Before making fun of him, it’s good to look at the word again. Kick and Start, if split, it may mean starting a fight with a kick (kick-start). No wonder Daniel assumed something similar.
Although kickstart means to begin again, it doesn’t mean starting a fight in any way. It goes to show the wrong assumptions one can have when ignorant of something. Daniel has certainly learned his mistakes.
Hanging Out or Hung Over
Hanging out and hungover may not look or sound similar for many, but someone somewhere doesn’t agree. To hang out and to experience hungover do not translate to the same thing. However, an individual thought hungover is synonymous with hanging out and used the former instead of the latter.
Speaking to a friend, hungover was used and this sounded surprising since the individual doesn’t drink. How humiliating it would have been if it was a stranger being addressed and not a friend. Another quite funny misuse of the expression. It would have been bad if it happened for years without him noticing the error.
A Stressful Semester Not Vacation
An American student would easily understand what it meant to experience a stressful semester while a Swedish person may translate it differently. Semester refers to the periods of schooling in American Universities while in Swedish it means vacation.
So for this Swedish, it always surprising and unexplainable why Americans will always complain of a stressful semester (isn’t a vacation supposed to be relaxing and soothing?). Well, this can be blamed on word meaning. The word is spelled the same but doesn’t have the same meaning.
Take Something for Granted
How close is the meaning of “taking something for granted” to “believing something that one is told without questioning.” Far from it? Yes, far from it because the meaning is nowhere near close. To take something for granted would mean not to regard something highly or treat it with levity.
This meaning is far from what was initially stated. Whoever assumed the wrong meaning of this expression needs to be corrected. Good thing the user who related the experience now has a clearer understanding of the expression — no more mistakes.
So a non-native happened to hear the word cheese floating around, and ignorant of its meaning, the individual concluded it meant “goodbye.” So for three years, cheese meant goodbye, only to later realize the word is cheers and not cheese.
Although feeling bad for the wrong use, in defense, they argued cheers sounded like cheese. For a non-native this is admissible in this situation. From another angle, does cheese really sound like cheers? How awkward it must have been to raise a glass and saying cheese instead of cheers.
Awful and Awesome
Moving from Brazil to Canada poses a challenge in terms of interaction. Sharing the experience online, someone who moved to Canada from the South American country — Brazil had a challenge with the words awesome and awful.
Since the word “awesome” means something good, he broke the word into awe-some; something inspiring awe. On learning the word awful, he applied the same technique — making it awe-ful; something better than awesome (fully-inspiring). So when a fellow art student showed him something amazing, he said, “wow, that’s awful” with a grin. He made many enemies.
I Concur or I Disagree
Many a time, some words seem to have a natural and unique meaning upon hearing them. Like in this case, “I concur” seemed to mean “I disagree” to an individual for many years. And just as common to many people, they don’t bother to check out the true meaning of words.
If the word is seldomly used, then no problems, but if used frequently, it could be embarrassing to make use of wrong word when one intends to say something opposite.
Being Up in Arms
How scary it must sound to tell someone “I want your cat up in my arms” when the person thinks “being up in arms” meant hugging someone for too long. Strange right?
How can someone misunderstand something as simple and nice as being up in arms? Well, it’s strange but it’s an experience shared on a social media platform.
Literally or Litterly; an Honest Mix Up
This is not even about word meaning, it’s the spelling. So for many years, this person kept spelling literally as litterly. People give words meaning different from the original, sometimes, it’s the pronunciation, but in this case, it’s the spelling.
Not until reviewing their essay many years later after it was marked was it noticed that litterly was marked wrong. A revelation that must have saved future errors.
Does Library Sound Like Raspberry?
Back to sounds, apparently someone somewhere thinks library and raspberry sound the same. So instead of saying library, raspberry was pronounced.
Imagine for a moment someone saying: I’m heading to the raspberry” Haha! funny right? It could be pretty embarrassing too. However, since it’s an honest mistake, it’s hard to detect one is wrong until the error is corrected by someone who notices the mistake.
Toe the Line
Not after 7 years in an English country was a non-native able to understand the correct meaning of “toe the line.”
The individual said, “I thought it meant you were almost over the line, only barely within the boundaries (like a big circle where the line is the edge and you’re toeing it). But I finally realized it means that you are totally conforming.” What a fun way to translate the expression. If taken literally, the real meaning of many idioms would be lost.
Is It Retired or Retarded?
Here’s another instance of mixing words up. Who here thinks retired is retarded? These are two different words with obviously unique meanings. Almond100, the user who shared the experience, learned the difference between the two the hard way.
On a visit to her boyfriend’s parents, she mixed retired up with retarded; certainly an awkward situation and an embarrassing way to learn. This is an example of ignorance bringing about bad experiences. In the end, we learn each day.
There Is No Such Thing As…
“There is no such thing as friendship” — to someone, this meant that nothing could compare to friendship, that friendship was the best thing ever.
However, the expression is not fitting and it doesn’t have the intended meaning. In fact, the individual who made this statement shocked her teacher, and not until many years later did she realize the true meaning. Too late but on the flip side, it’s never too late to learn. But through the years, she just used the expression wrongly and was confused as to why people didn’t understand her.
Is It No-Where or Now-Here?
Breaking down words needs careful consideration to avoid creating a new or wrong meaning. Someone took things far assuming nowhere can be broken down into “now-here” thinking it’s something related to a term in the field of existentialism — how extreme.
However, the actual meaning or breakdown is — no-where and not the superfluous definition from the scenario above. Most times combined words that make just a word can be quite confusing if separated to give meaning to each.
Bowels and Stomach; Are They the Same?
When people say they emptied their bowels, many tend to think of it as emptying the stomach. A quick heads up — waste doesn’t stay in the stomach. So touching the stomach or referring to it as the bowel is wrong.
For those guilty of this, here’s a confession from a fellow: “I confused bowels and stomach and so I thought bowel movement meant when your stomach is making the rumbles.” What an assumption, a wrong one! Good thing someone confessed, now many know the difference.
Passing Out and Passing Away
Passing out and the passing way are very different, but for some reason, someone somewhere may think otherwise. A Reddit user shared an experience of how they mixed passing out with passing away.
On hearing people talk about passing out, they get sad thinking someone lost their life. Imagine being sad over what is not. It goes to show that though mixing up the meaning of words or expression can be harmless at times, one could worry unnecessarily by understanding things the wrong way.
White Lie in English and Hindi
“White lie” in English means a harmless lie but not quite the same in Hindi. In Hindi, a white lie a literal translation of “Safed Jhoot” which translates to atrocious lie.
An opposite meaning entirely. An individual made use of a white lie while conversing with Indian friends, not knowing they would term it something quite different from what was intended. It’s nobody’s fault, it’s just transliteration confusing.
When Terrific Means Horrible
It may not be a common feeling but terrific seems to feel like a bad word considering the way it sounds. Well, while it’s just a feeling for some, some people translate it wrongly.
They think terrific means horrible. From an experience shared online, someone for many years was confused every time people would say nice things about something and then say that it’s terrific.
The Pants Man in the United Kingdom
This Australian mate had a hard time learning how to differentiate pants from trousers. In Australia and a few other countries, pants are different from underpants but not the case in the UK. Pants are underwear and trousers are formal wear.
Unknown to the Australian, he kept saying “my pants are really dirty and need a wash” among friends not knowing pants literally means underpants. How he must have sounded like a dirty pant wearing rascal.
Hey Depressed Soul, Hang in There
It was strange to a non-native English speaker just learning why people would tell someone depressed to hang in there. To the person, it felt like they meant “stay in your depressed state.” And that made him feel they were uncaring.
Only later did he realize it’s more of a comforting expression than what he thought it to be. Looking at the expression again, if translated literally, it sure does sound like telling someone to stay the same — good it’s not.
Famous or Infamous
Even among native speakers, famous and infamous are confusing. Mostly found in books, many have understood infamous as the opposite of famous. In reality, infamous and famous are two sides of the same coin.
Infamous means famous in a bad way or for a bad reason, more like saying notorious. However, not many are aware of this and as such commonly use infamous as the opposite of famous – as in, not famous. Most native speakers fall for this, so it’s no surprise non-native speakers make the mistake.
I Know Where You Are Coming From
During a discussion, in a bid to people know they are understood or their point of view is well comprehended, the expression ”I Know Where You are Coming From” is enough for the listeners.
If not familiar with the expression, it will seem more like the listeners literally know where the speaker is coming from. Don’t think it’s impossible, not until after putting in the effort to get the meaning of the expression did someone stop being surprised when people say it. Funny but it’s real and true.
Some forms of greetings are unique to some regions, a common thing that non-natives picking English might find confusing. Someone from a Spanish speaking country moved to the United States while in middle school.
When greeted with conventional “what’s up,” this individual literally looked up trying to answer what’s was overhead. It must have been quite an embarrassing scene. It could be laughed off considering the age and the origin. Although literally the greeting simply translates to looking up, but too bad, it’s a greeting already.
A Homely Woman
This is the height of wrongly interpreted expressions by non-native speakers. Thankfully the individual who shared the example hasn’t used the expression, just still an assumption. What comes to mind on hearing ”a homely woman?”
The individual in question thinks it referred to a bit chubby, but comfortable mom type of person. This for being homely? A homely man must likewise be chubby and comfortable in this context — funny. Some assumptions are absolutely weird and hard to decipher how someone could think so awkwardly.
A Good Talk
A non-native thinks “good talk” is a polite way to end a conversation, discussions, and letter writing. On many occasions, some formal, he had ended a letter with a good talk at the end as if saying thank you or other forms of polite final remarks.
The mistake had to correct to when the individual started to add “good talk” to the end of formal emails. It sounds weird but isn’t that the story of many other non-natives making similar or worse mistakes? Like always, correction does the trick to prevent the same mistake in the future.
Accident and on Purpose
Looking for weird language mix up stories? This is certainly an interesting one. Accident and on purpose don’t sound close so it’s strange how for someone, both can be used interchangeably.
Coincidentally, accident happens to be the opposite of “on purpose” yet someone thinks both are the same. The fascinating part of the story is about who made the error. While most may assume it’s a common non-native speaker situation, the case is pretty much not the usual. A native speaker is a culprit this time.
I Could Care Less
The phrase “I could care less” bothers several non-native speakers. It is a bit difficult for them to grasp and avoid its use. But it sometimes comes up in some books and in such a case, it becomes difficult to understand its function or meaning.
While some may take it to mean caring but in a little way, the original meaning is different. The phrase ‘I could care less’ is commonly used to suggest absolute lack of concern for a matter. At 14, it was difficult to grasp for the individual who shared the story.
Hang on or Hang Up
Hang up and hang on are not the same but some non-native speakers are ignorant of this. Some think hang is the main word, and it doesn’t matter what comes after. Unfortunately, a non-native assumed both are the same.
Anytime she’s on call and someone at the other end says, “hang on,” she ends the call thinking it meant to hang up. It led to many confusing calls among friends and formal situations. Too bad what mixing up word meaning can cause and cost.
Misunderstanding Gherkin to Be an Animal
Pickled cucumber alternatively known as gherkin is not widely known. Many mistake it for different things. Relating their experience, a user on Reddit for a long time thought gherkin was some kind of furry animal.
Only later did the meaning become clearer that it isn’t some animal rather a word for pickled cucumber coined from the German glossary of words. The experience is common to many people unsure of the meaning of some words but just assume it to be anything that comes to mind.
The Dumbfounded Non-Native Colleague
The experience of a non-native to another is an interesting thing to consider. So in this scenario, the first non-native has a good command of English while the same can not be said for the colleague and their boss. In an email, the excellent non-native used the word ”dumbfounded.”
On passing the draft to the colleague and the boss, they were surprised something insulting as “dumbfounded” was included in a formal email. How funny! Sadly the individual had to face an HR hearing to discuss the reason behind using an abusive word in a business mail.
Hassle Sounded Abusive
An incident in Zealand had a foreigner labeled as a gusty individual. A program required shaving regularly to follow protocol. Due to the stress of frequenting a Barber Shop, the foreigner decided to ask the owner of the company what is acceptable because shaving every day will be a ”hassle.”
Unfortunately, his accent made “hassle” sound like a rude word. About 100 people thought he insulted the boss on the first day of work. Sadly he earned a bad reputation due to the incident.
Socks for Cold Feet
This incident involved a non-native man about to get married. People kept asking him if was getting cold feet ahead of the marriage but he took it literally. He confidently said he had socks to keep warm since coincidentally it was during winter.
To him, he feels he was being funny with his reply but he didn’t grasp the expression. Asking him if he’s experiencing cold feet was a polite way of asking how nervous he was, but he obviously didn’t understand it. An expression that eludes him.
If Looks Could Kill
The idiom “if looks could kill” may be difficult to understand as a native speaker, so it must be a double struggle for non-native speakers. Little wonder a non-native assumed the idiom to mean when someone looks good.
However, the meaning is far from it. But what may have possibly caused the mix up is the common expression “dress to kill.” So it’s possible the individual connected the dots (the wrong dots of course) and drew a wrong conclusion. The complexity of the English language can make a non-native feel almost like a fool.
The Talkative or Talk-Active
After many years in the United Kingdom, a non-native resident came to a recent realization of a wrongly assumed word. Similarly, many are in the habit of breaking words into two thinking they’ll grasp the meaning easily. Same thing happened in this case.
Here, the word talkative was split and assumed to mean an active speaker/talker ( talk – active). It took the help of a native speaker (who couldn’t help but laugh) to correct the notion. And mention talkative is used negatively and not as a form of compliment.
I Have Been There
Pretty similar to ”I know where you are coming from,” “I have been there” can be confusing to non-native speakers. Often than not, many assume it to mean saying someone has been to where they’ve been.
And it’s always confusing since they are likely talking about a challenge and someone saying “I have been there” may sound confusing and awkward.
People use some expressions without grasping the meaning and on realizing the mistake an awkward feeling sets in. So this individual interpreted “getting laid” to mean getting drunk.
Ignorantly, the person asked female colleagues the best place to get laid on many occasions. And even told a female colleague the leg weakening effect of getting laid so hard over the weekend. One can imagine how the colleagues must have felt about someone always asking and sharing the experience of getting laid.