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Bemused Over Nonplussed

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A listener in Park City, Utah, says she and her fellow ski enthusiasts are having heated debates about the word nonplussed. It originally meant “at a loss,” from Latin non plus, meaning “no more,” suggesting a situation in which one can go no further, as in an argument. Perhaps because of confusion with nonchalant, the expression nonplussedalso acquired the meaning of “not bothered.” Both meanings now exist side by side, and linguists regard nonplussed as a skunked word. In other words, its use has become so problematic and contentious that it’s best to choose a different word altogether. This is part of a complete episode.

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