Take It Back

Let’s take back the meaning of words. Our ability to communicate clearly is hindered when words are misused.

Awesome. Awe is not a good feeling. Look it up. Something that is awesome is closer to terrifying than wonderful.

Absolutely. Means unqualified, unconditional, unrestricted, without limitation. It does not mean yes, affirmative, correct, certain. The over use of superlatives dilutes their power.

Best. There can be only one “the best.” In most cases that’s not possible. The best cheese, the best cognac, the best. . . Who’s to say? Best in what way? Best for what use? I know what I like the best. When it requires qualification as in, best to me, or best for this purpose, best doesn’t apply.

Passion. It’s a word in transition and losing its original meaning. Most understand it as having strong emotions. It really means suffering. To use it to describe something you have such overwhelmingly strong feelings for that you actually and willingly suffer for it would be proper usage. I don’t know anyone who is so extremely dedicated to anything that they really and truly suffer as a result.

Terrific is a perfect example of a word that has transitioned. It’s original meaning is still in the dictionary, but relegated to the bottom of the list of meanings. Think about it, it’s awesome.

And one that’s not a word, it’s a punctuation : double quotes. When not being used to indicate a direct quote that someone said, they are often called scare-quotes. In spoken language they’re called air-quotes and accompanied with some silly finger wiggling. They usually indicate irony, as in, military “intelligence.” Quotes are also properly used for the titles of pieces of music, magazine articles, movies, and nicknames. But today they are being misused to indicate emphasis. And their overuse is so rampant sometimes it’s a mystery as to what they mean. Quotes are “NOT” for emphasis! (And that goes for exclamation points too!!) If in doubt, don’t “use” quotes.

Language is always evolving. There’s no stopping it. Questionable words are in transition. Still, it’s good to be reminded of their origins, and it’s sometimes amusing.

More taking back in a YouTube video that runs nearly an hour, but the first ten minutes packs in the relevant information : [Now Praise Intelligent Design]

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