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Your high school English teacher was wrong. Words mean whatever people think they mean, much like how money is worth whatever people think it's worth. Of course as an individual you can't unilaterally redefine a word, just as you can't declare that a $100 bill is worth as much as a car.



Until it's time to get a normal job.


At most jobs it's more important to communicate effectively than it is to know the historical definitions of words.

Of course, words don't have universal meanings. Lawyers and scientists use the word "theory" differently, for example. In any given environment, you should use words the way the people you need to communicate with expect them to be used.




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