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What’s in a word?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 - Rant, Thoughts

Everyone has those little things they call “pet peeves.”  You know what I’m talking about, those minor irritating things that bring out the raging monster from inside to tear the world apart!

Oh, your reaction to pet peeves aren’t that bad?  Oh well, mine is, and my pet peeve for today is …

… dramatic pause that serves no real purpose …

Improper Usage of Words

The other day I noticed someone online misusing some words.

misusing

wrong or improper use; misapplication

Now, these words I saw being used incorrectly are commonly misused.  They have been redefined through pop-culture influences to mean something completely different from the actual meaning of the word.

So, why is this a bad thing?  I mean, really, don’t words tend to evolve as a language grows and words are added or become obsolete?

Yes, language does evolve.  That is a given and there is nothing wrong with that.  However, when someone takes a word and twists the meaning so crudely as to give it an entirely new definition on a whim, then there is a problem.

“Retard” and “gay” are the words I am talking about today.

retard

a mentally retarded person

gay

having or showing a merry, lively mood

“Gay” has evolved to mean homosexual(s), as well.

Now, judging by the context, the person was using these words as synonyms.

synonym

a word having the same or nearly the same meaning as another in the language

He was using them in an attempt to insult another person, and was giving them the definition of “stupid.”

Dictionary.com does include “stupid” as part of the definition for retard under the heading of slang, but I don’t really find that acceptable.

Hmm, I’ve sort of burnt out my rant on other things before completing this post, so I’m just going to hit “publish” anyway and let the world know that this sort of ignorance and disregard for the English language bothers me.

Besides, I have an Icee and no one can properly rant while drinking an Icee!

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