A skunked term is a word that becomes difficult to use because it is transitioning from one meaning to another, perhaps inconsistent or even opposite, usage, or a word that becomes difficult to use due to other controversy surrounding the word. Purists may insist on the old usage, while descriptivists may be more open to newer usages. Readers may not know which sense is meant.
Garner recommends avoiding such terms if their use may distract readers from the meaning of a text.
A 'moot point' in British English has historically meant a point that is worth debating, but the meaning is shifting towards that in US English of a point that is irrelevant or academic.
- Bryan A. Garner, Garner's Modern American Usage, 2009, p. 306f
- Ben Yagoda, How to Not Write Bad: The Most Common Writing Problems and the Best Ways to Avoid Them, ISBN 1594488487, 2013, p. 82 and passim.
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- Marsh, David (2015-01-16). "The meaning of 'moot' is a moot point – whichever variety of English you speak | Mind your language". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-07-27.