Thursday, March 12, 2009

Language Fads

When I was younger, I would roll my eyes whenever one of my writing mentors would wring their hands about "in" words that people would use. Get over it, I would think. The language evolves.
I think I may have missed their point. Maybe sometimes, evolution is not a step forward (Hmm, would that make it de-evolution?) When we all keep using the same word over and over again, the language loses something. It's like serving the same dinner every night--fine at first, but then you just can't face the table anymore.
Let's take the word ginormous. This particular mess juxt seemed to appear EVERWHERE last year for no apparent reason. Every so often we try to think of a word that tells us something was bigger than big. The last example of this that I paid attention to was humongous (okay, I am showing my age here.) That lost some of its bigness so we went to ginormous. Thankfully that was last year which is now so last year let's not even talk about it. Oddly enough, the origins of ginormous appear to be before that of humongous--which just goes to show you how odd these crazes are.
Then there's the word pop as in "The color just makes her eyes pop." Do you hear yourself here, folks? Or am I the only one thinking about the poor girl sitting there with her eyes popping? It is not a nice picture.
The one that will not go away is ridiculous. Why that is, I can't explain. People are using the word in almost every other sentence. A bargain is ridiculously cheap or a task is ridiculously easy. Not much that I have done was ridiculously easy or cheap but I keep hearing about it. I like the words very, extremely, even awfully but I don't hear them as much anymore.
No rant on trendy words can be complete without some discussion of the F word. Come on people! Do you ever think of anything else? If we all did it as much as we talk about it, this world's population would pop--I mean we'd be ridiculously ginormous, don't you think? Or too freakin' tired to worry about what words are all the rage.

Christine Duncan is the author of the Kaye Berreano mystery series.


Anne Carter said...

Pet peevy words for me right now are "amazing" and "absolutely". I find myself mentally counting the number of times certain people use these words in a conversation, and end up missing what they are trying to say.

As for the f-bombs, this is absolutely unacceptable to me. It's amazing how many now pepper their language with gratuitous profanity. I laud McKay Hatch, the young man who started, for his courage and compassion for words.

Well, have a ginormously amazing day, everyone!


F. M. Meredith, author said...

One of the sad things about words is when they are overused until they don't mean as much--such as awesome.

In the olden days queer meant odd or curious, faggot meant a stick of wood often thrown in a fire during a religious camp fire, gay was happy.

Marilyn a.k.a.
F.M. Meredith

Morgan Mandel said...

When I was young, the word was icky. Then came whenever. Perfect was pretty popular and still is.

Morgan Mandel