An emailer pointed me to a good story on Slate.com today about the common misuse of the word "schizophrenic."
Even though the word is very often used to refer to someone or something having multiple personalities, that is a grave misunderstanding of the nature of the actual mental illness of schizophrenia.
"It doesn't matter if everyone uses it incorrectly," wrote the reader. "It's (The Star's) responsibility not to do that." The emailed pointed out a recent letter to the editor that said the church justifying violence while also teaching to avoid it is "schizophrenic."
A check of The Star's archive shows me the most common usage of the word has adhered to its actual, clinical definition. It's been discussed several times recently, usually in relationship to the mass shootings in Colorado and Connecticut.
There are many words that it seems most people misuse. My personal pet peeve is "infamous," which means "greatly evil," not "famous for dubious reasons." People usually mean "notorious" when they use "infamous."
And I agree wholeheartedly with every reader who calls on professional writers of all stripes -- journalists obviously among them -- not to let some words' actual meanings slip away simply because they're commonly misused.