Saturday, August 9, 2014

Frequently Misused and Misspelled Words and Phrases, part 91

Udder/Udderly vs. Utter/Utterly

Wrong: That’s udder nonsense!
Right: That’s utter nonsense!

Wrong: She was udderly oblivious to the destruction behind her.
Right: She was utterly oblivious to the destruction behind her.

Don’t laugh! I’ve seen this entirely too many times. An udder is the large baglike mammary gland (teat) of female cows, sheep, goats, and other four-legged mammals. Udderly isn’t even a word.  Utter has several meanings, including (as a verb) to produce audible sounds or speak, and (as an adjective) complete, total, or unconditional. Utterly is an adverb meaning completely, totally, or absolutely. This is a case where “udder nonsense” is utterly nonsensical.

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