Some English Words That Malayalis Use In The Wrong Context

All of us are guilty, in one way or the other, for using (misusing) some of these commonly misused English words. Realising what they actually mean might make some of the things we’ve said and heard sound really funny, while others make our whole life seem like a lie. Here are some of the commonly misused words and their wrong usages:


A hotel is described as a place that provides food and accommodation, while restaurants are simply places that serve food. The two words are often used interchangeably and it would be quite confusing when we see those ‘HOTEL’ boards outside buildings that are barely big enough for a room. Harry Potter tents maybe?

Freak aayittond

Somehow the word “freak” has become a synonym for ‘being cool’ when the word actually means something totally different. Freak is a word used to refer to highly obsessive people or someone with a deformed or monstrous form. A native speaker would consider calling someone a “freak” as a way to insult the person.

Pass Out aayi

People often use the phrase “pass out” for graduation. To pass out means to faint, and so it is quite confusing when someone says “njan pass out aayi” when asked how their studies are going.



Troll and meme are two words used, interchangeably by many Malayali netizens, to refer to funny images shared on the internet. The actual word for the jokes we share is ‘meme’, while ‘troll’ is a completely negative word that refers to offensive material that is intentionally made to upset someone.


To trip or tripping means stumbling down when our feet get caught by something. Apart from “wanderlust” and “somewhere on Earth”, “Tripping” is one of the most common phrases we see in the statuses of our travel-uyir buddies. It’s scarier when the person happens to be standing near the edge of a cliff and posts a picture with the caption, “Tripping mode”.

Milk Chocolate

Milk chocolate is commonly misunderstood for white chocolate bars, but it actually means light brown chocolate with higher milk content compared to dark chocolate. Childhood would seem like a lie to everyone once they realise that Milky Bar was never milk chocolate.

Pomeranian dog

Whether it be the neighbour’s white dog with the fluffy tail or Julie from CID Moosa, it would instantly be called a Pomeranian. But the dog breed would probably be the Indian Spitz, the commonly seen white furry dog that looks similar to Pomeranians.


Glamorous role

Glamorous refers to the quality of being full of beauty, charm, and excitement, but there’s a usage of the word that refers to the same but with a sexual undertone, especially when referring to female actors.

Cutex, Maggi

We all know this one. Though the usage of ‘cutex’ for nail polish wouldn’t be as common as it used to be, the satisfaction of saying Maggi for noodles is still unbeatable.

Rose Powder

While rose powder is the pink coloured powder used for skincare, we would remember at least one moment from our childhoods when we heard someone say “rose powder” for the cosmetic called blush powder or blusher.

Cutter, Rubber

Asking the friend in the front seat for a ‘cutter’ instead of a sharpener and ‘rubber’ instead of an eraser would be a major part of anybody’s school time memories. Despite being an incorrect usage, let’s be honest these words do hold a huge share of the school nostu.

Well, these are some of the English words we could think of. If we have missed out any more English words that are used incorrectly, let us know in the comments below.


  1. More words:

    1. Variety – Malayalis think it means ‘for a change’. As in “I have idlis for breakfast daily, but today I’m having bread – just for variety.”

    2. Humour sense – for ‘sense of humour’

    3. Behave – Used in a film world context – meaning ‘being natural and not acting’. As in “Director Saar doesn’t like acting. He prefers behave.” This was in a Jayaram movie where Siddique ‘behaved’ as a film director.

    4. Atrocities – “I don’t want any atrocities in my class” says Mammooty Sir to his students in some movie. What did he mean? You figure it out.

    5. Litter – the most recent word that I came across in Karikku’s latest video “STAR”. They seriously thought it meant cat’s poop! Can you beat that?

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