History professor at American University (and so, likely someone with a terminal degree, which in history would be the PhD), just on NPR a few minutes ago, told us that fund-raising for presidential candidates has increased "asymptotically." This is vocabulary-by-feeling, the vague memory from high school algebra that an asymptotic line is usually drawn as a steep curve. But the actual meaning is quite different - in fact it is something opposite to what the speaker meant.
The Semicolon Rule is that if you introduce a semicolon into a sentence, you have to use it properly. Otherwise you are just a poser (or poseur, if you want to be a poser in another way) saying "Hey! I know about semicolons." Better to just leave them out altogether. With vocabulary, don't bring up words or concepts you don't really understand, just to prove you are in the know and have heard of such things.
This would be a good example, (much more Tribe's fault than Obama's, BTW).
Liberal-arts education sometimes consists of making sure that the students have at least heard of the important ideas underlying our culture, without actually knowing anything about them. I am really good at this, BTW, and can testify how shallow such learning can be.
Of related interest.