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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I’ll See Your “Awesome” and Raise You a “Dude!”

"Can you imagine how hard life would be if I weren’t so awesome?" This was put to me as a real question the other day.

“Define awesome,” I said.

Frankly, the word “awesome” has been used to death. Remember when cathedrals were awesome? The power and majesty of a mountain range was awesome. The inhalation-stopping, jaw-dropping, brow-smoothing grandeur of a wide-open vista was awesome.

The word “awesome” lent real scope to a descriptive sentence.

“How’s the new baby?” I asked someone.

“Awesome! He’s so awesome!”

That’s right: the baby is breathtaking, grand in scope, and mind-blowing.

To her defense, I would not have been surprised to hear her describe her grandson as “gnarly”. Language has never been her long suit. I know I’m being somewhat unfair when I inwardly laugh at how we, all of us, are helping the disintegration of the language one awesome baby boy at a time.

Forgive me, Funk and Wagnall, for I have sinned.

I sometimes get the feeling that our word-bank, as it were, is getting low on funds. What we need, people, are more words, words with meanings that will not subtract from the original connotation but will nevertheless make a contribution.

For instance, right now, I’m feeling combobulated and gruntled.

Life is good.

I would also like to be chuffed, but it seems that “chuffed” is already a word.

Silly word, chuffed. It’s always left me shaking my head a bit, the indisputable meaning of it lodged in a particularly untidy region of my head.

It means pleased, doesn’t it?

At any rate, in answer to the question put to me the other day, yes, life is hard, even when you’re “awesome”.

But it gets better once you’ve declared yourself “chuffed”.


Anonymous said...

I always thought chuffed sounded too much like chaffed. - G

Pat said...

Dittoes re: awesome. I confess-- I use it too much myself. One newly minted word which I hope becomes extinct soon in ginormous.

savannah said...

i'm vexed, sugar. xoxox

De Campo said...

I just decided to name all future children Awesome.

Maybe my dog too.

Douglas said...

I had to look up* "chuff"... I cannot quite grasp the meaning of "chuffed", however. Does it mean you ran into a chuffing?

Chafed I understand.

*I notice I am doing that a lot more these days.

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

I got 'chuffed' once behind the corner store. Not fun.

Kevin Musgrove said...

To be chuffed is a fine thing, though to chuff may be frowned upon outside Thomas the Tank Engine circles.

I'm reet gradely mese'n. And in danger of being as smug as a flea in the Dauphin's knickers.

Roshni Mitra Chintalapati said...

I am totally with you on 'awesome'! Another word I find totally overused is 'totally'!

Anonymous said...

Well, if we're voting words off the island...then let's get rid of pithy.

Too many people spit when they say it.

Jon said...

Chuffed is good, but only when used as the past participle.

In all other forms of the verb it relates to the noun "chuff" which is rude except when it pertains to steam engines.

And foreigners tell me English is easy.

The one I really, really hate is "ultimate" when taken to mean "very good" or "extremely impressive."

I don't falying people with a length of knotted rope is too severe a punishement for this.

Jon said...

Or even - I don't think flaying people with a length of knotted rope is too severe a punishement for this.

Blame the wine.

Dusty said...

I literally want to vote literally off the word island, especially when it's used incorrectly.

I literally went home and died. Highly doubtful.

Sam Liu said...

Splendid post indeed, Pearl, and one with which I heartily agree! The state should issue everyone with a thesaurus for Christmas - let's start using a more varied range of adjectives other than saying "awesome" ( a word which baffles me almost as "chuffed" baffles you) to describe everything from Late Renaissance architecture to newborn babies :D

The Jules said...

Chuffed tends to be used when you're a bit pleased with yourself, like when you've scored a good goal and copped a nice feel. You could be chuffed with your blog. Pealy.

@Dusty - Totally agree with 'literally'. I was once told that, to get someone to do my bidding, I should 'literally badger them'.

Oh the imagery.

Pearl said...

Oh, I should've jumped on "literally" as well.

Another one I'd like to get rid of is the word "pitch" where it relates to something very very dark/black. I heard someone on the bus explain something as being colored "pitch red". Pitch red? You hear that sound right now, the rustling? That's me shaking my head. If you listen REALLY carefully you can hear my forehead wrinkling due to excessive frowning of the confused sort.

Cannot get the Dauphin's knickers out of my head... Wait...

Cheeseboy said...

I have GOT to start using "chuffed" more and "awesome" less!

mapstew said...

There is no beer in the fridge!
I'm devastated!! Literally!! :¬)


Joanna Jenkins said...

I am an "awesome" junkie. I use it way too much. But Chuffed-- Haven't used that one in a while.

Hope you're having a "nice day".


Anonymous said...

I highly 'chuffing' blog posting, m'dear. And yes, the 'dude' thing I just don't get. Dudes are, well, dudes, people who stand up to pee. Mind you the term is usually used by female people who refer to a heterosexual M&F couple as 'you guys.' I also pondered awesome on FB a while ago.

K A B L O O E Y said...

I'm guilty of "cool". Not of personifying it, just of saying it.

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to give "splendid!" and "marvellous" new leases of life at the moment in my real life interactions. "Outstanding" and "superb" are also giving me much pleasure. I haven't dared use "spiffing" yet though in case someone decides I'm a 75 year old English nobleman and deports me.

Krëg said...

Any time I want to get chuffed, I just give a local prostitute twelve dollars.

The Retired One said...

Your blogpost today was AWESOME Pearl!!!

Irisheyes said...

Okay, we can get rid of awesome, but can we keep plethera? That's one of my faves...