Some ambiguous words

Sometimes languages have gaps, sometimes we just use imprecise words. A few examples:

Wrong: mistaken vs. morally wrong. And conversly, right: correct vs. just.

Value: price vs. moral values vs. subjective utility.

Regulation: having some feedback system vs. government rules.

In french, two separate words are used: régulation (the body regulates its temperature) and réglementation (setting rules or régles). The distinction matters when discussing emergent behaviors in the market. Government legislation (réglementation) is not the only way to achieve protective feedback (régulation).

Free: libre vs. gratis (gratuit)

The distinction between free will and free beer blends into welfare politics, where one means freedom or negative liberty, while the other implies positive liberty or access. The confusion can be cleared by realizing that welfare policies are not free (gratis), they simply force the cost onto other individuals and impede on their freedom.

(HT to Stefan Molyneux and Pascal Salin)

Update: here is one more, to save. One meaning is to rescue, the other is to economize. An example inspired by an ad from a South Korean oil company to illustrate the possible ambiguity: save resources to save the planet.


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