Tag Archives: awesome

6 words that have lost meaning

I have been considering the degradation of words recently.I know words are constantly evolving, but it seems to me that more often than not, they become degraded and lose their meaning.

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

Let’s take SWEAR WORDS as an example.

When I was growing up, some words that are now considered normal, (and I use them myself on occasion) were definite no-nos, and had I used them I would have been in serious trouble. Words such a damn or b*&&er. (just in case the gremlins in the internet have decided it’s still a bad word.)

The words that are now thought of a swear words, I didn’t know. I never heard them. Such words as the F word and the C word have become commonplace, if what I hear in the street is anything to go by.

These words have become degraded. They are no longer as ‘bad’ as they once were.

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

This has happened to other words, too. The one that immediately jumps to mind is AWESOME. Things are no longer just ‘good’ or even ‘excellent’. They have to be ‘awesome’. Do things commonly described as such really fill the speaker with awe? I doubt it.

Image by StanWilliamsPhoto from Pixabay

The next word we’re hearing a lot these days. That word is HERO. We hear it applied to all and sundry. According to dictionary.com, a hero is “a person noted for courageous acts or nobility of character.” Not everybody who is simply performing acts of human decency.

Image by teotea from Pixabay

ICONIC is another word that has become degraded. Everything now sseems to be ‘iconic’. Originally an icon was a religious portrait to aid worship. It can also be the depiction of a victorious athlete, soldier, or a sovereign.

Image by Daga_Roszkowska from Pixabay

Here’s one we were told not to use, when we were in school. NICE.
Once it meant fastidious or scrupulous. Now it just apples to anything that give a bit of pleasure.
A nice garden. She’s a nice person.

Image by Michael Schwarzenberger from Pixabay

Finally, here’s one that can often be left out of sentences. (Writers take note.) It has degraded so much that it is now almost meaningless. That word is ACTUALLY.
Originally it meant something unexpected. Now it’s often only an interjection.

I hope you enjoyed reading these words. This was not what I originally set off to write. I was going to make a list of confused words I’ve come across recently. That will be another post for another day.

Are there any words that you’ve noticed being degraded? If so, add them to the comments in the comments box.

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8 Over-used Words and Phrases

I am going to take a rest from my usual second Tuesday subject of Commonly Confused Words to talk about a few words and phrases that I think are very overused in today’s world. The unfortunate thing is that the overuse dilutes the meaning and/or impact of the words.

 I am talking from a UK point of view, here, of course. These words and phrases may not be in common use in other parts of the English speaking world. They may interest some of you. though.

1.  ICONIC or ICON.

Everything nowadays seems to be iconic. An icon was originally a religious picture. They were used in the Greek and Russian Orthodox churches and were usually pictures of Christ, the Virgin Mary, saints or angels and were used as aids to worship.

Another meaning of the word is a small picture or symbol that links to a program in computing.

Neither of these seem to fit the use of it as used commonly these days. It has come to mean something that represents something else.
‘The Eiffel tower is an iconic building.’ It represents Paris.
There are so many icons around these days! Nearly everythibng and everyone is an icon.

2. AWESOME.

I’m afraid our American friends are largely responsible for this one. While there are some truly awesome sights and events in the world, much of the time this word is used, the users mean something really good. It won’t fill them with awe and wonder, just make them feel excited and possibly surprised.

Having used the word ‘wonder’ above, it occurs to me that the word ‘awesome’ is going the same way as ‘wonderful’ and having its meaning diluted. What are we going to say to something truly awesome?

3. AT THIS MOMENT IN TIME.

As opposed to a moment out of time? where else is a moment except in time?

What’s wrong with ‘NOW’?

4. One beloved by football commentators. I’m still not sure how it came about.

EARLY DOORS.

This means that someone is going to do something , well, early! Why the ‘doors’ has been added, your guess is as good as mine. Are doors early? How are doors early? It irritates me.

5. VARIOUS DIFFERENT.

As opposed to various the same? Tortology, I think. Can you have a variety of things that are the same?

6. There are a couple of variations on this one.

THE REAL TRUTH, or THE TRUE FACTS.

You can’t have either an unreal truth or untrue facts. It’s either true or not, or it’s a fact or not.

7. UNIQUE.

‘Unique’ means there is only one. It does NOT mean that something is unusual or rare. You cannot have things that are ‘fairly unique’, ‘very unique’ or any other modifier. Something is either unique or it’s not. Period!

8. EPIC.

This word has come to mean some large event. We, in the UK have apparently been having floods of epic proportions. (Or else, if not epic, then of Biblical proportions!)

Epic is supposed to mean a monumental struggle of some kind, or something monstrously huge.

It originally meant a heroic story.

It is another use of a word being downgraded.

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