I Didn’t Mean That

Contradiction II

Here’s a list of words that don’t mean what they used to.

  1. Nice

The original meaning of nice used to be, well, not so nice. The adjective actually comes from the Latin word “nescius,” meaning “unaware” or “ignorant.” When it was picked up by the English language in the early 1300s, it described a “stupid, ignorant, or foolish” person. Ouch!

2. Awful

Nowadays, if you say something is awfulyou’re not being kind. However, back in the day, it was actually a term that people used to praise things, seeing as it literally meant that someone or something was “worthy of awe.” As awful became more negative, the word awesome largely replaced it in terms of its original meaning.

3. Flirt

Flirting with someone in today’s sense is what most people would consider to be flattering. However, if you were to flirt with someone based on the word’s original meaning, then what you’re doing is less sweet and more savage. Back in the 1500s when this term was coined, it was actually used to describe a quick motion or jerk—something like a flick

4. Cheater

Centuries ago, the term cheater was used to describe the royal officers who looked after the king’s escheats, or the land he acquired when someone died without a legal heir. However, because of the shady ways these officers went about their jobs, the word “cheater” eventually became synonymous with someone who lies, tricks, and defrauds—and this is how we define the word today.

5. Egregious

When someone describes something as egregious, they are trying to say that it stands out—and not in a good way. However, when it was first coined, the word actually meant the exact opposite. According to Merriam-Webster, the adjective was once used as a compliment to describe someone “who had a remarkably good quality that placed him or her eminently above others.”

6. Naughty

In the 1300s, people who were naughty had naught, or “nothing.” In other words, they were poor. Nowadays, however, the word is used to describe someone not as poor, but as evil or improper.

7. Terrible

The original meaning of the word terrible is similar to its definition today, only way more extreme. When you described something as terrible back in the day, it meant that it caused genuine fits of terror; today, people use it to describe anything that’s mildly bad.

8. Bully

No one wants to be called a bully—unless you’re using its original meaning, that is. In the archaic sense, bully means “sweetheart,” as it was derived from the Dutch word for lover, and for a while meant excellent, or splendid. Think Teddy Roosevelt, and his, “Bully, bully, bully!”
(David Bowie’s song, Fame has the line, “Bully for you, chilly for me.”)

9. Silly

The word silly has seen quite a few definitions throughout history. Derived from Old English, the adjective has been used over the years to mean everything from “happy” and “fortunate” to “innocent.” Eventually, though, the word somehow became synonymous with ignorance, thus bringing us to its current meaning of “foolish.”

10. Dapper

If you’re a stylish, neatly groomed man, someone today might call you a Dapper Dan. However, if you were to use the word according to its original meaning, then this wouldn’t make sense. Seeing as it’s derived from the German word tapfer for “brave,” dapper was originally used to describe someone as bold and daring—not in their fashion choices, but in their endeavors and undertakings.

11. Fantastic

Fantastic is an adjective used to describe something that is extraordinarily good. However, seeing as it was derived from the Latin word phantasticus—meaning “imaginary”—this word was originally used to describe something that only exists in the imagination. So, technically, a unicorn would be fantastic in either sense of the word!

12. Artificial

When something today is described as artificial, it’s usually a far cry from what’s considered a masterful creation. However, that’s exactly what the adjective used to refer to. If something was artificial back in the day, it was artfully or skillfully constructed.

13. Brave

Being called brave is quite the praise by today’s standards. But the word’s original definition—which is “showy” or “gaudy”—is much less complimentary.

14. Girl

A young female is typically referred to as a girl today. However, when the word was first used in the Middle Ages, it referred to any young person, regardless of their gender.

15. Guy

Guy, man, dude, fellow—they’re all monikers used to refer to the male species. However, you wouldn’t want to just throw the word guy around back in the day; in the 1800s, it was used to describe a person of grotesque appearance.

16. Clue

If someone were to give you a clue today, they would be giving you a hint about something. However, when the word was first coined, someone who was giving out clues was actually giving out something more tangible: balls of yarn, now spelled ‘clews’.

17. Manufacture

Manufactured, when used in its original sense, describes something that has been produced by hand. However, today, people generally describe something as manufactured when it has been mass-produced in a factory by machinery.

18. Nervous

There are a lot of things that can make someone nervous nowadays: job interviews, talking to someone they’re attracted to, public speaking… the list goes on and on. In the 1600s, however, nervous in this context wouldn’t make sense, seeing as it was originally used to described someone who possessed great strength.

19. Passenger

If you’re a passenger, you’re just someone who’s along for the ride. However, the original meaning of the word passenger is someone who is traveling, fleeting, or just passing by, typically by foot.

20. Pretty

The term pretty is derived from various words in other languages that meant “cunning,” “tricky,” and “skillful”—and therefore, it makes sense that the adjective was originally used to describe a sly person. Nowadays, however, it’s used to positively describe someone’s appearance rather than their deceitfulness.

21. Radical

Radical is an adjective used to describe anything extreme that shakes up the fundamental nature of something, and it’s typically employed in regards to social or political activism. However, radical actually comes from the Latin word for “rooted,” and it was once used to describe the opposite of extreme: something rooted, basic, and fundamental.

22. Sad

It’s no fun being sad or unhappy. However, it wouldn’t have been such a bad thing to be sad back in the day. In Old English, to be sad meant to be satisfied or content, usually in regards to feeling full from a meal.

23. Success

It’s a good thing to have success nowadays. However, back in the day, it could go either way, seeing as success originally described both positive and negative outcomes alike.

24. Villain

You know a villain as any evil person, typically in a movie, novel, or play. However, in Old English, this word simply referred to anybody who worked on a country estate or villa, such as a farm laborer.

25. Fathom

Today, fathom is just another word for “understand.” But way back when, it was used for measurement purposes and described the length of someone’s outstretched arms (about six feet!). Can you fathom that?

 

Flash Fiction #210

Success

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

FOCUS ON SUCCESS

Jacob attributed his ongoing academic – and hoped for, future –success, to his ability to compartmentalize and prioritize his mind; family here, sports over there, and social in the back corner.

He was aware of the hot chick in science class, with the top and shorts that were so tight that even he had trouble breathing, but he had a physics exam to write.

He didn’t understand just how he did it, and felt somewhat sorry for those who couldn’t – only somewhat. Many of them just didn’t seem to try. Achievement is obtained through Focus: straight A’s first then go swimming.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

friday-fictioneers-badge-web

(Self-)Help Is On The Way

Self Help

In order to improve the lot in life of our employees and customers, Archon’s Addled Alliance is offering some free on-line courses. All you need to do is contact us and admit that you need help, and we’ll enroll you in a suitable one from the following list.

SELF IMPROVEMENT

Creative Suffering
Overcoming Peace of Mind
You and Your Birthmarks
Guilt Without Sex
The Primal Shrug
Ego Gratification Through Violence
Moulding Your Child’s Behavior Through Guilt And Fear
Dealing with Post-Realization Depression
Whine Your Way to Alienation
How to Overcome Self-Doubt Through Pretense and Ostentation
Hairstyling by Microwave

BUSINESS AND CAREER

Retire at 26 by Embezzlement
How I made $100 in Real Estate
Money Can Make You Rich
Packaging And Selling Your Children
Career Opportunities in El Salvador
How to Profit From Your Own Body
The Underachievers Guide to Very Small Business Opportunities
Tax Shelters For The Indigent
The Looters Guide to North American Cities
Mortgage Reduction Through Arson
Manipulation – The Key To Success
Hysteria – Motivation and Methodology
Preliminary to Employment Through Nepotism
Dice and Dope – Roll Your Way to Success

ECONOMICS

Counterfeiting Canadian Tire Money (Open to residents of Canada only)
Basic Kitchen Taxidermy
How to Convert a Wheelchair Into a Dune Buggy
Cat Hair Macramé
Christianity and The Art of RV Maintenance
What to do With Your Conversation Pit
Sinus Drainage (Contracts)
1001 Uses For Krazy Glue
Repair and Maintenance of Your Virginity
Burglar-Proof Your Home With Concrete
How to Convert Your Kirby Vacuum-Cleaner Into a Fully Automatic Rifle
How to Build a Patio With Prune Pits – Franchise Program
Second-Hand Tupperware Parties

HEALTH AND FITNESS

Creative Tooth Decay
Fun With Necrophilia
The Joys of Hypochondria
Exorcism and Acne
High Fibre Sex
Suicide and Your Health
Skate Your Way to Regularity
Understanding Nudity
Tap Dance Your Way to Ridicule
Optional Body Functions
The Braille System of Anatomy
Dressing Right/Dressing Left – How It Can Change Your Life
Isometric Fitness For the Lazy
Understanding Underarm Wetness and Wind Direction

ARTS AND CRAFTS

Start Your Own TV Evangelism
Self Actualization Through Macramé
Needlecraft for Junkies
Gifts For the Senile
Cuticle Crafts
How to Draw Genitals
Bonsai Your Pet
Wind Chimes As a Substitute For Religion
25 Creative Uses For a Water-Pik
Crochet Drapes From Dental Floss
Toilet Bowl Reading

Please add any courses that you would like to see offered in the future.

’19 A To Z Challenge – C

Letter CAtoZ2019

 

The unusual English word for the Ides of May Ass-end of April is

COSTERMONGER

Costermonger is the quieter, poorer, green-collar, green-grocer brother of the Monger family. Their trade is

Chiefly British: a dealer in or trader of a commodity (usually used in combination with a specific material)
a person who is involved with something in a petty or contemptible way (usually used in combination)
Verb: to sell, to hawk

Our friend costermonger is; a hawker of fruits, vegetables, fish, etc., often from a cart, barrow or street stall

The Monger children are quite numerous. They include
Iron-monger, who is the roughneck of the family
Fear-monger, who works for Trump in the Immigration Department
War-monger, who flies back and forth between Washington and North Korea
Cheese-monger, the back-to-the-Earth, family Hippie
Gossip-monger, the sister who just can’t keep her mouth shut

Gossip

Almost no-one who becomes an author, can support themselves on book royalties, at least in the beginning. It takes a lot of time, and a lot of books sold, which usually means multiple titles. Not everybody can be a Dan Brown, a Lee Child, or a Tom Clancy.

I know a lovely lady author who has published three small books – with more on the way. As a pay-the-bills job, at one point she was the manager of the sea-food section of a supply warehouse. She delighted in telling people that she was a fish-monger.   😆

Fish

There’s nothing fishy about my claim that my next post will be even more interesting. C U soon.

A To Z - Survivor

That’s Not (Precisely) Funny

German Shepherd

Gerry Seinfeld is rolling over in his grave – or, he would be, if he were dead, and if he reads this, he might be.

There are times when comedy, or other facets of life, depend on precision.   Jerry was/is a precisionist.  He replaced a generic ‘dog’, with a ‘German Shepherd,’ in a joke about a blind skydiver, and killed.  He and a friend argued for an hour, about whether to use ‘a’ or ‘the’ in a joke.

Just as often though, it is necessary for the joke-teller to rely on the listener’s imagination.  Sometimes, precision can kill the humor.

Recently, while plagiarizing researching jokes for my comedy posts, I ran into the old classic about a couple making out in a car.  When the male asks the female if she’d like to get into the back seat, the Blonde wails that she’d rather stay in the front with him.

Ditzy Blonde

The Blonde lady who posted it, took the time and trouble to rewrite it, and place the amorous couple in a CORVETTE.  Ever the pedantic buzzkill, I reminded her that unlike the sports car Thunderbird, which morphed into a gigantic land-yacht, Corvettes never had a back seat.

I got back a grumpy (and I’m an expert on grumpy), “Well, maybe it was a BWM then.”  Maybe it was, but why did you feel the need to be specific – and wrong?  Why not just use the generic ‘car,’ the way every other joke-teller does, and let the readers’ imaginations supply their own.  I could imagine a 1928 Essex, because a man in my home-town turned one into a French fry wagon.

Today’s rant about Nothing, is brought to you because I couldn’t imagine a theme for last week’s 100-word Flash Fiction, I didn’t have a WOW composed and ready, and I published a comedy post out of sequence.

I’d like to blame exposure to Donald Trump, during our week-long visit to DC.  Our Osteopath claims that our trip was a success.  Trump was quiet all the time that we were there, but that was because he was too busy playing golf in Florida.  My digestion and my blog-site are all regular again.  Please stop back soon, so that I can prove it….  the blogging – not the digestion.  Ew, Ew, Ew.  😯

Progressively Worse

Little Red Schoolhouse

It ain’t gettin’ any better, folks!

A mass shooting has got the lefties screaming, yet again, for a gun ban. As someone who has lived in Ontario, and was married when you needed an Act of Parliament to get a divorce, abortion was illegal, and murderers were executed, it is so saddening to watch how progressives have destroyed yet another generation of our children.

Kids today can only print their names. They participate in games with no winners, attend schools where failure isn’t an option, and in general, are not taught to compete, for fear of losing, at any aspect of life.

Without learning to deal with any type of failure, they no longer can deal with it; yet there comes a time when they do fail, and then they are too weak to move on past it.

Our kids’ ‘progressive’ world leaves them unprepared for life, and academia convinces them that, just as in sports, the workplace should have no winners or losers, and that everyone is entitled to the same paycheck, just as they were entitled to a ‘participated’ ribbon.

In their world of ‘no consequences’, their failure to ever hear the word “NO”, a life of no discipline, and no idea how to cope, leads to more frustrated ‘shooters’ who have not been taught how to live a competitive and disciplined life.

Does anyone expect anything else from this progressive philosophy, which is financially and morally destroying the West??!   😯

 

Smitty’s Loose Change #3

Smitty's Loose Change

A Provincial Liberal spin-doctor, trying to justify the amounts of money spent (wasted) by the Government, wrote, “We’ve increased Guaranteed Income Supplement payments for seniors. We’ve started building more roads, bridges and transit to create jobs, and help you get to work on time at the end of a long day.”  Would that be in a cart placed firmly in front of the horse, or is it as we go to our second job, to be able to pay the taxes to replace what they’ve frittered away?

***

The above ranks right up there with the sign in the Notre Dame football locker-room that says, “Success is getting up one more time than you’ve been knocked down.” Go ahead, try that.  You haven’t been knocked down, so you only have to get up once….  This success thing is harder than it looks – especially in university mathematics.

***

The term for ‘It’s been wrong so often and for so long, that now it’s right, is ‘hypercorrect incorrectness.’ All those who haven’t nodded off, can now pray to have Archon’s OCD cured.

***

“The better you feel about yourself, the less you feel the need to show off.” And now I know why I’m so low-key.  I am very comfortable in my own skin.

***

Did I miss a language lesson somewhere??? When the Hell did ‘chick’ become ‘chic’?  I collect the occasional misusage, to poke fun at.  This has become endemic.  I see it everywhere! Me and this chic went to a bar. Chic [sheek] means fashionable, stylish, elegant and/or attractive.

***

GRAMMAR:
It’s the difference between knowing your shit, and knowing you’re shit.

***

While recently celebrating Columbus Day, certain Americans discovered that Canadians were celebrating our Thanksgiving, earlier than the US, because of our shorter growing season. Considerable confusion arose. “Well, do you celebrate Christmas and Easter at the same time we do?”

MSN.ca celebrated with an article titled, ’23 things Canadians say, that Americans don’t understand.’ It included my favorite, poutine (French fries, gravy and grated mozzarella), serviette (paper napkin) and two-four (a case of beer).

I discovered another regionalism, but balked at the quote some Canuck used to explain it. “A washroom is just a polite way of saying bathroom.”  No, it’s not!  As my Grade 5 teacher explained to “that kid”, a room which contains a toilet/urinal, and a sink, is a washroom.  If instead, it contains a tub, or shower stall, it then becomes a bathroom.

‘Restroom’ is an already chi-chi way to describe a place where you can sit down, rest, and take a load off – your feet.  ‘Powder room’ has nothing to do with explosions or demolition.  It’s one of the above, full of euphemism, not powder.  As a comedienne explained, “Women don’t fart, and we don’t sweat.  If we didn’t bitch, we’d explode.”    😆