But then I had a thought: what if the book achieves the exact opposite? Since previous book titles include "The Miserable Mill" and "The Grim Grotto", what if today's kids decide penultimate is a word meaning "Something really terrible, especially if Count Olaf does it"? It could totally change the mis-meaning of the word! I wonder if another book in the series, "The Ersatz Elevator", will cause an eventual misuse of ersatz to "evil" instead of 'fake' or 'substitute'.
The other word I see abused in this fashion is "erstwhile", which means "former" and is often used in newspapers phrases like "the erstwhile mayor" . The word seems to have taken a U-turn in popular memory to mean "esteemed" or "flamboyant" or some other generally positive adjective. I was once called "the erstwhile lara7" on a discussion list, which made me wonder 1) what the poster thought he was saying with the adjective and 2) if I was "erstwhile", who was I now if lara7 was my former title or identity?