Synonym: a word to use when you can not spell the word you really want.
I find myself doing this more and more lately. I am losing my ability to spell. Not that I was ever spelling bee material, but I was pretty good, when writing, at seeing that a word just did not look right. I was also good at looking up the word if I needed to do so, but usually I could make the correction easily enough.
Then along came spell check and I am losing my ability to spell and to recognize errors. My spelling brain has gone soft from under use is my guess. I don’t have to pay that much attention. If the work is misspelled a red line or a yellow highlight will appear. One click and I have the options in front of me. Another click and the offending error is fixed. Even less thought goes into those words that are habitually misspelled. They correct themselves automatically, often without my even registering more that a slight blip on the screen.
Now, if I am not working in one of my trusty word processing programs, I find myself more and more at a loss. I stop and look. Is that right? No, I don’t think so, but what could it be? That doesn’t look right either. Oh, maybe I’ll just write something else instead. Moment of panic…Is this an early sign of dementia?