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Thursday, September 4, 2014

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 both 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”.

25 comments:

vanilla said...

How tiny the worlds of those to whom the most trivial things are "awesome." You are right. The word has been worn to death; it no longer serves any of its original intended purposes.

Shelly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dawn@Lighten Up! said...

Overusing awesome: guilty as charged!
Also, I had to look up chuffed. One of those words that sounds like what it is.

Shelly said...

While not wanting to raise a false cry of gardyloo or to sound contumelious, I fear for the future of our language and I heartily agree.

Mitchell is Moving said...

Live is even more awesome when you declare yourself right chuffed or, better, well chuffed.

Joanne Noragon said...

I believe the world is choking on a plethora of young adult literature; between the covers of any one the entire story covered in a vocabulary of one thousand words or less. I've considered a rant about that phenomena, but think I would be singing to the choir.

jenny_o said...

Guilty.

*sits resignedly on the naughty step*

In my defense, I use awesome instead of great, which at some point was also a good word, but became overused. I know lots of other words but I fear they will go the way of awesome if I use them too much :)

Are you going to write about emoticons, too? because I might as well just sit a while longer on the naughty step while I'm at it :p

Jayne Martin said...

I thought "chuffed" was when you sanded the dead skin off your legs. Aren't I the embarrassed one? :)

joeh said...

I thought chuffed meant "Pissed off" until a UK reader set me straight. It is a good word though.

Sometimes we think alike.

http://joeh-crankyoldman.blogspot.com/2012/01/how-do-you-discribe-grand-canyon.html

Geo. said...

"Chuffed" sounds like being pleased, but with steam blowing out of one's ears.

Daisy said...

Well, Pearl, I think YOU are awesome, and now I am chuffed after reading this. :)

bill lisleman said...

The last printing of Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia was in 1997. I don't anyone is around that place to hear your word usage confessions.
Thanks for the correct usage of chuffed. I guessed it had an opposite type meaning. Good to know you are not in a funk about this.

Jono said...

I really miss words like hornswaggle and dadburn (variation of dadgum). I reckon I ought to commence to using a dictionary more often.

Leenie B said...

Be patient. Using awesome as all-purpose adjective will get old and go the way of far-out,and groovy. Around here the new replacement for awesome is "perfect." Give your server your order and you get "perfect." Tell the beautician you like your hair cut, you get the reply, "perfect" This, too, will pass. Unless it's cool.

Delores said...

Overuse of the 'awesome' and the 'f word'....bummer.

Elephant's Child said...

Oh yes.
Love chuffed (and use it). Love gruntled too, but it is one of the most anti-onamatopeic words.

Merlesworld said...

Words are like fashion sometimes they are in sometimes not.
merle,....................

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari Om
I prefer to reserve my awe for some things which deserve it. Chuffed is English slang for 'well pleased'. Which I am with your picking up on the fact that language has been severely disabled by the thumbs up/down generations. No need to invent any, dear Pearl; English has many words waiting to be dusted off... does that not biluvien iow? YAM xx

VEG said...

Oh yeah, it's used TO DEATH, including by me and you know what? It's lazy. I'm aware of it. I know it's a word that no longer carries weight of something actually awe inspiring and I'm going to endeavour not to use it any more because even I hate it. I also hate every lazy, modern Internet-age phrase of bad grammar. Like when someone says "Oh my God, I just can't with her!" You can't what? That isn't a sentence. Don't get me started on people who text with numbers instead of words. In a text I might forgive it, but people leave comments online using this method and they automatically drop to an IQ of about 60 whenever I read it.

There, I have spoken. Veg is a text snob.

River said...

I agree "awesome" is overused, about a year ago I banned myself from using it, since then I think I've used it in comments only two or three times.

Chicken said...

I thought chuffed meant annoyed...maybe because it sounds like chafed and being chafed is so annoying? I will confess to overuse of the word awesome. From now on, I am going to substitute "amzaze balls".

Val S said...

The Brits have a lot more interesting words than we do - we just have to keep watching BBC America and stealing their vocabulary.

Marion Bulmer said...

I remember when the same space in a sentence would have been filled by COOL, and before that FAR OUT and before that FAB. Its time will pass.

Indigo Roth said...

It sounds like you want to be English... ;)

Diane Tolley said...

Me? I'm totally wrapped!