Obscure Vocabulary Words

forensicbuzz

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The problem with these threads that were created and moved to a different forum is many don't look at The Swarm Lounge and so they lose steam and peter out. I understand that they're not relevant to the main topic, but it does make for a more interesting thread. My only gripe is when the conversation shifts to other schools, not GT. I'm good with topic drift if it's not related to the sport and team being discussed; I'm not as okay with it when it drifts into other teams or our competition. I guess we each have our thresholds.
 

forensicbuzz

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That's the definition of lexicography. Dictionaries are proscriptive, not descriptive. Dictionaries are living documents in that they don't define what the word means statically, they define what the word means in its current use. Lexicographers are constantly revising dictionary definitions because the meaning of the word changes with use. A great read on this is Kory Stamper's Word by Word. She is a lexicographer that used to work for Merriam-Webster.

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I was thinking about it in the shower this morning and realized I flipped what I meant to say. Dictionaries are DESCRIPTIVE, not PROSCRIPTIVE. The describe the language as it is, not proscribe the language the way it is supposed to be....and I wasn't even drinking. (well, unless you count cough syrup)
 

slugboy

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I was thinking about it in the shower this morning and realized I flipped what I meant to say. Dictionaries are DESCRIPTIVE, not PROSCRIPTIVE. The describe the language as it is, not proscribe the language the way it is supposed to be....and I wasn't even drinking. (well, unless you count cough syrup)
Well, meanings change over time ;)
 
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4shotB

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Yes, racist is the prime example today. After everyone learned that the word could be used to bludgeon your political opponent, off to the races it was.
I disagree somewhat....I don't think the meaning of that word has changed at all. WTBS, its so overworked and cliche now it has lost its potency.
 

Northeast Stinger

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Good Lord this thread is teetering on controversy.

When I think of a word that has changed meaning I think of words that are no longer used with the first definition or in which the most obscure definition has now supplanted all other definitions in popular usage. Gross and suffer come to mind off the top of my head.
 

forensicbuzz

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Yes, racist is the prime example today. After everyone learned that the word could be used to bludgeon your political opponent, off to the races it was.
The thing to remember is that language is dynamic. A dictionary is a living document used to "describe" the meaning of the word as it is used in modern language. Many, many words have morphed from one meaning to another over time. Dictionaries are there to describe the way a word is used as opposed to prescribing what the word is supposed to mean.
 

forensicbuzz

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Good Lord this thread is teetering on controversy.

When I think of a word that has changed meaning I think of words that are no longer used with the first definition or in which the most obscure definition has now supplanted all other definitions in popular usage. Gross and suffer come to mind off the top of my head.
No controversy in my eyes. The word has evolved to mean more than it originally did. That's neither good nor bad, it is just what it is.
 

LongforDodd

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The thing to remember is that language is dynamic. A dictionary is a living document used to "describe" the meaning of the word as it is used in modern language. Many, many words have morphed from one meaning to another over time. Dictionaries are there to describe the way a word is used as opposed to prescribing what the word is supposed to mean.
I agree with the dynamics of the language. For instance, also, the word "vaccine" and what it's been asked to morph into compared to what the word has meant for decades.
 

TampaBuzz

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Good Lord this thread is teetering on controversy.

When I think of a word that has changed meaning I think of words that are no longer used with the first definition or in which the most obscure definition has now supplanted all other definitions in popular usage. Gross and suffer come to mind off the top of my head.
And then there is my 10 year old. He was reading an old kid's book published in the 1950s that I had laying around from my childhood. PaPaaa, this book has the word "gay" in it! Yeah kid, it used to mean happy or cheerful, but not anymore.
 

Northeast Stinger

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And then there is my 10 year old. He was reading an old kid's book published in the 1950s that I had laying around from my childhood. PaPaaa, this book has the word "gay" in it! Yeah kid, it used to mean happy or cheerful, but not anymore.
Yeah, that meaning changed in the 1940s but probably was an “underground” word in the 1920s.
 

awbuzz

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And then there is my 10 year old. He was reading an old kid's book published in the 1950s that I had laying around from my childhood. PaPaaa, this book has the word "gay" in it! Yeah kid, it used to mean happy or cheerful, but not anymore.
I was thinking the same thing... I wonder what kids would think that the Flintstones and Rubbles were causing you to do when you are with them.

... When you're with the Flintstones
Have a yabba-dabba-doo time
A dabba-doo time
We'll have a gay old time...

fred-flintstone-barney-rubble.gif
 

Northeast Stinger

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I was thinking the same thing... I wonder what kids would think that the Flintstones and Rubbles were causing you to do when you are with them.

... When you're with the Flintstones
Have a yabba-dabba-doo time
A dabba-doo time
We'll have a gay old time...

fred-flintstone-barney-rubble.gif
I think it was the movie “Bringing Up Baby” where Cary Grant says he turned gay and it is clear he has both meanings in mind. But maybe it was a different Cary Grant movie.
 

forensicbuzz

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I agree with the dynamics of the language. For instance, also, the word "vaccine" and what it's been asked to morph into compared to what the word has meant for decades.
Actually, the word vaccine came about from inoculation. Edward Jenner noticed that milkmaids (all 8 of them in a row) who had previously had cowpox were immune to smallpox. So he gave people cowpox, which was relatively benign to protect them from smallpox. The word "vaccine" comes from the Latin word for cow, "vacca."
 
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