Sir: I cringe whenever I hear radio or TV announcers say "hopefully." I think they mean "I hope," but "hopefully" means "full of hope." To say "Hopefully, the clouds will disappear" makes me wonder how clouds can disappear hopefully. Is there anything we can do to stamp out this aberration?

- Tom H.

Answer: This will probably cost me what few friends I have left, but I have just abandoned my own bitter aversion to "hopefully" in the meaning of "it is hoped" or "I hope" or "We hope." Comments in two excellent recent dictionaries now make powerful arguments for such usage. And as one adds, "Many other adverbs (as interestingly, frankly, clearly, luckily, unfortunately) are similarly used; most are so ordinary as to excite no comment or interest whatsoever."

It took a heap of soul-searching for me to fall into line, but I did. And by golly, I'm glad.

Sir: Please clarify something for me. In a TV commercial showing on the West Coast, the announcer says "You are sure of yourself - you are confidant (her pronunciation)." I thought a person sure of himself was "confident" and a "confidant" was someone to be relied on to keep conversations private. Am I wrong?

- Mary H.

Answer: Not one bit. Why don't we just assume the announcer is having vowel trouble?

Sir: I seldom read your column because of your missinforming imagination, but Kings X drew my attention. It has nothing to do with evil spirits.

- Jan W.

Answer: Aw gee, I'm plumb sorry about my "missinforming" imagination. When I mentioned evil spirits in connection with Kings X, I was only funnin' and thought you'd know it. But Andrew M., who runs a restaurant in California called Kings X, has an explanation that might better suit your critical standards. In the old days in England, he says, the main roads were called Kings Highways, and they were infested with rogues and cutthroats. A Kings Crossing, or Kings X, was a place where the horses were fed and bedded down and the travelers were given room and board in safety - sanctuary, in other words. So Kings X meant sanctuary.

Sir: I can't find "myrate," or maybe "mirate," in my dictionary. Why?

- John S.

Answer: I can't either, but it ought to be there, shouldn't it? You and I both know it means to admire. What's wrong with these dictionaries?

PUZZLE OF THE WEEK, cited by Steve F.:

"A letter in the advice column of my newspaper told me of a light bulb that `inadvertently ignited the dry grass' in a nest a bird had built in a lamp shade. After seeing the damage caused, do you think the bulb would behave differently if given another chance?"