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There are certain words which are very commonly abused and misused, and it often really grinds my gears. This is a list of them. Just two words for now, but I might add more in the future.
In fiction a character is said of have depth when the personality, history, motivations, mentality, desires and other personal characteristics are fleshed out so that the viewer/reader knows and understands better this character and why he/she does and says what he/she does. A well-developed character has more or less realistic and varied personality traits, is not very unilateral in everything, has flaws and virtues, and is good at some things and bad at others.
A character is said to be "flat" when there's little or no character development, and the depiction of the character's personality is very shallow and undeveloped or, in some cases, extremely stereotypical and one-sided, with no nuances and variations. Usually a stock character added to the story with no significant effort to develop it further. The more "screentime" this character gets, the worse the effect.
The first type of character is described as a "three-dimensional" character because the personality and traits are described in depth, while the second type of character is described as a "two-dimensional" character because it's flat.
I'm assuming that someone somewhere at some point used the term "one-dimensional" character as more or less a joke/exaggeration to describe an extremely two-dimensional character, with no depth whatsoever.
For some reason the "one-dimensionality" has stuck. Everybody is using that term to mean "two-dimensional character". So much so that the latter has actually fallen almost completely out of usage. The "one-dimensional character" has become the standard term for a flat character, even though the term makes little sense in the context of character descriptions having "depth" or being "flat". "One-dimensional" does not mean flat, without depth, as opposed to "three-dimensional".
This must be the most commonly abused and misused word in the English language.
The correct usage of "fake" is to describe something which looks like something else and, especially, has been deliberately made so in order for it to be mistaken for the real thing. In other words, the intention of a fake is to deceive people into believing it's the real thing, even though it isn't.
Things which have been made to resemble something else but not with the intention to deceive nor to pass it for the real thing are not fake.
Examples of things which can be called "fake":
The common feature with all these is deception and malice: The fake item has been specifically crafted to look as much as possible as the genuine item, with the intention to deceive and pass it for the real thing.
Examples of things which can not be called "fake":
The common feature is that there's no deception involved, and these things are very clearly not even intended to be passed for the real thing.
These examples of "not fakes" may seem a bit ridiculous, but that's exactly my point:
The word "fake" has a very negative connotation to it. When you say that something is fake, you are telling that the creator of that something has intentionally tried to deceive people with malice, possibly for personal gain. Calling for example a piece of art "fake" is denigrating and insulting because it's calling the author a faker, someone who tries to deceive people with falsities.
The problem is that people throw very carelessly the word "fake" to everything that is not "real", and in many cases this can be rather insulting, or at the very least just plain stupid.
For example, "Weird Al" Yankovic has created many humorous "interviews" where he films himself "interviewing" some celebrity and editing pieces of some real interviews of those celebrities in a way that seems like they are answering his questions in humorous ways. These are very obviously created for humorous purposes and it's completely clear from them that they are just comedic sketches.
In youtube someone asked "is this a real interview?" (something really stupid in itself, but you can't blame some people for having a low IQ). Someone replied: "No, it's fake."
That is really what grinds my gears: By carelessly calling it "fake" this person is insulting Yankovic by saying that he is trying to deceive people with malice, by trying to pass a fake for a real thing.
Another sad example is the reception that tool-assisted speedruns received in the first years: Many people badmouthed the whole genre and called the runs "fake", even though the videos themselves and the website prominently state that they are not regular unassisted speedruns. Every possible effort was made to make sure that the viewer is notified that these are not regular speedruns, that tool-assistance was used to create them. The intention was not to deceive anyone for any purpose. Calling them "fake" is insulting and denigrating (and in this particular case most people did it with that very intention, in order to badmouth the whole genre).
Some people say things like: "Why do you watch professional wrestling? They are not doing it for real. It's all fake." I find this kind of attitude absolutely ridiculous. It's exactly as ridiculous as someone saying: "Why do you watch movies? They don't depict real events. It's all fake."
(Ok, some decades ago professional wrestling was seriously attempted to be passed as the real thing, without being it. However, that has not been so for decades. No wrestler nor producer claims nowadays that it's real. They all are rather straightforward that it's only for entertainment.)
This word is very irritating because it's so powerful, and it's very hard to counter it when someone misuses it.
When discussing a polemic issue, you may present all the clear, simple, well-researched, logical facts you want, but everything can be simply swept under the rug and dismissed by your opponent by him calling them "rationalizations", especially if the issue deals with more intangible matters such as psychological, behavioral, sociological, philosophical or similar phenomena.
The word is very belittling. No matter how good and logical your arguments are, by calling them "rationalizations" they are automatically all dismissed and at the same time you are portrayed as being delusional. Basically you are accused of inventing excuses.
How do you even respond to that? If you say "they are not rationalizations" you are just sounding childish. If your opponent refuses to aknowledge the rationality and validity of your arguments and calls them "rationalizations", there's little you can do about it. There's no response.
This word is very powerful and very irritating when misused to belittle someone.
(One could suggest that it's you who should use the word against your opponent before he gets the chance. However, this is not always possible, especially if your opponent is not making any claims, only denying or doubting yours.)
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