I notice, from the previews, that the new movie, The Tourist (starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie), features the following conversation (approximately):

DEPP’S CHARACTER: You look ravenous.

JOLIE’S CHARACTER: You mean “ravishing”?

DEPP’S CHARACTER (confidently): I do.

Hee, hee, very funny, but I call accidental inverted plagiarism! That is, my brother has been mixing up those two words in the reverse manner for years:

SETH BROTHER: Man, I haven’t eaten all day. I am so ravishing!

SETH: I think you might mean, “ravenous”.

SETH BROTHER: Yeah, that’s what I said.

SETHBLOGS: Yes, I’m sure it was: I just hope you’ve been telling people all day about your “ravenous” self-analysis.

SETHBLOGS NOTE: As a result of comments from my readership, I have discovered that my claim that the tourist engaged in “accidental, inverted plagiarism” may be inaccurate. Please read the below comments for details.


  1. Sorry, boys, but I engaged in this verbal byplay somewhere around 1947–I think unintentionally. This has gone through many permutatious, such as, “My dear, you look simply ravished this evening.” “Don’t you mean famished?” “No, I meant ravenous.” “Or is that ‘ravishing.'” Oh, well, it could go on indefinitely.

  2. My recent viewing of the inspired-by-a-true-story movie ‘Ravenous'(starring Guy Pearce – a delightful flick featuring cannibalistic settlers from the American frontier), muddies the water for me even more.

    “My dear, you look ravishing, and I am ravenous. I can’t decide whether to ravish you, or serve you with radishes.”

  3. I had an embarrassing mix-up along these lines too! When I was around 11 years old, I had a bad flu and had to go see my doctor. Then, a week later, I went back to see him, and he asked me how I was feeling. By that point, I was much better and had gotten my appetite back, and I responded “I’m ravished!”

    My doctor looked momentarily shocked before he started to laugh, and suggested “you mean ravenous?”

    I blushed.

  4. Thank you, TomD, Tarrin and Meredith for this tour of ravishing confusions. Very entertaining (and delightfully embarrassing in your case, Meredith ;)). I had no idea that this sort of confusion was so prevalent. Perhaps, then, my criticism that the “The Tourist” engaged in an “accidental, inverted plagiarism” was incorrect. Instead it seems they have drawn their dialogue directly from the real world, which I understand is the proper province of art (to imitate life) and so should neither be considered plagiarism nor accidental.

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