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Linguaphilia Posts

Infer and Imply: Meaning and usage with examples

It’s a fairly common mistake for people learning english to mix up verb pairs like learn and teach, give and take, lend and borrow, or throw and catch, where the verb you use changes depending on whether you are describing the start of an interaction or the completion of an interaction. But there’s a pair of verbs that even many native English speakers get wrong: imply and infer.

Definitions of infer and imply

These verbs describe subtly communicating or understanding information. If I imply something, I am trying to communicate it without actually saying it. For example, if a friend asks me a direct question:

“Is the coffee good here?”

I might answer indirectly:

“They’re not known for great coffee.”

Muggins: Meaning, origin, and examples

Introducing Linguaphilia: Muggins

It’s pretty hard to decide what to write your first post about. But I figure, what better way to introduce myself than to talk about muggins here?

Definition of muggins

Muggins’ is a particularly British word, though you might hear it from most English speakers. Nobody’s completely sure of its origin, but most people’s best guess is that it came from a real family name that sounded like ‘mug’ and just sounded funny.

Muggins has appeared in film and TV a few times. The feature image for this post is from the British TV series The IT Crowd, series 1 episode 4, The Red Door, where Moss refers to himself as ‘muggins here’. In the American-made 2003 Christmas movie Elf, Will Ferrel’s character calls himself a “cotton-headed ninny-muggins,” which sounds funny to Americans because the word is so typically British, and is rarely heard in American English.