On the radio today, someone used the word meretricious with the intended meaning of 'deserving' or 'worthy'. The Concise Oxford Dictionary says that it means 'showily but falsely attractive' or 'of or befitting a prostitute'. I wonder what the speaker would think if he actually knew this.
Interviews and articles in the media nowadays are peppered with examples of people using words or expressions they have heard somewhere and don't know the correct meaning of, yet use because, presumably, they think it makes them sound clever.
I find this a bit grating. If you are going to use a big word, shouldn't you at least have an idea of its meaning?