New in the Glossary of Confusing Words: Anyways, Cookie-Cutter

by Jessica Stahl - Posts (449). Posted Monday, May 23rd, 2011 at 10:00 am

dictionary and thesaurusThanks to those of you who keep submitting terms for our Glossary of Confusing Words. If I haven’t gotten around to defining your word yet, I promise I’ll get there soon!

Today we’re defining: “anyways” and “cookie-cutter.” They’re not exactly related to studying in the U.S., but they are both common idiomatic or slang words that you may hear in the U.S.

1) Anyways

You asked:

Recently this word is being used whereas the word “anyway” is the correct form. This appears to be an Americanization of the original English word.

It’s true that in everyday speech, you may hear people replace the word “anyway” with the word “anyways.”  For example: “I never really liked him anyways.”  Most of the time you’ll only hear this when “anyways” is being used as an adverb at the beginning or end of a sentence.

You’d never see “anyways” used in formal written English though, so don’t put it in an application essay.

And this doesn’t occur with the phrase “any way,” as in, “You can decorate it any way you like.”

I can’t vouch for whether this is a purely American thing or if other English speakers do the same.  Anyone want to weigh in on that?

2) Cookie-cutter

A cookie-cutter is literally a thing you use to cut cookie dough into a particular shape before you bake it.  But I have a feeling the person asking for this definition had the word’s more metaphorical use in mind.

When you describe something as “cookie-cutter,” you’re saying it looks generic or mass-produced.  The idea is that the same way a cookie-cutter produces lots of cookies with the same shape, something that is cookie-cutter is the same as many other things.

Thanks for the great Glossary suggestions.  Keep them coming using the form below or in the comments.

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Glossary of Confusing Words

Find definitions of confusing words and terms about studying in the U.S. in our Glossary of Confusing Words.

All the words were submitted by YOU, so visit the glossary to see the words that have been defined already and to suggest your own.