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?

 

A Sign Of The Times

A man rushes into a bar and demands a rubber band martini. “A rubber band martini??” says the bartender. “Yes, and make it snappy.”

***

My boss says that a company’s most valuable asset is its people, but I don’t think that’s right. The people sit in open cubicles, but the toilet paper is in a locked steel box, bolted to the wall.

***

Reverend Jones was the pastor of the large First Baptist Church in town and Reverend Griggs was the pastor at the non-denominational church across the street. The two were working hard together at the side of the road, pounding a sign into the ground that read:

THE END IS NEAR!
TURN AROUND NOW
BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!

As they hammered away they held a deep theological discussion on the end times. Just as the sign was in the ground, an expensive Tesla went speeding by. The driver leaned out his window and shouted, “You religious nuts!”

As the car rounded a curve, they heard the sound of screeching tires followed by a big splash. Rev. Jones looked at Rev. Griggs and asked, “Do you think maybe the sign should have just said, ‘Bridge Out?”

***

It’s a 4 minute walk from my house to the neighborhood bar.
It’s a 45 minute walk from the bar, back to my house.

***

My teacher said that unison is not a proper word.
That’s ridiculous; she should know that it’s one buffalo, standing by itself.
If there are two buffaloes, then it’s bison.

***

I tried to sue the local hospital. I explained that after her operation there, my wife had lost all interest in sex.
The hospital representative replied, “Your wife was admitted for cataract surgery. All we did was improve her eyesight.”

***

A young frog hears the story about the beautiful girl who kisses a frog and turns him into a prince. He goes to a frog fortune teller and asks if he will ever meet a beautiful young girl. The fortune teller tells him, “Yes, you will and very soon.” The frog replies, “Where? By the lake? By the river?” The fortune teller answers, “In biology class.”

***

Moon

Two blondes were sunning themselves on a California beach. One looks up in the sky and asks the other, “Which do you think is further away, the Moon, or Florida?” “Florida” her friend responds. “Why?” she asks. “Duuhh – you can’t see Florida.”

Flash Fiction #214

Swag

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

SWAG

Brucie had a very rewarding Christmas. He was old enough to know that there was no Santa, but smart enough not to say so.

“Santa” had finally brought him a basic cell phone. He’d got socks and underwear (Thanx, Mom) books, video games, dark chocolate and Scottish sweets. He’d watched A Christmas Story and asked for a BB gun, but Mom said that Ralphie’s mother was right – maybe later. “Later…. right.” Adults speak a different language.

Mom had warned him not to just throw his wrapping paper everywhere, so he’d carefully placed it all in a neat pile beside him.

***

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

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I’m Not Sure That They’re Sure

Big Bang

Here are some extracts from Atheist/Christian Apologist arguments debates.

So, how do you explain the empty tomb of Christ and the 500 witnesses to His post-death appearances?

I’d explain it the same way I’d explain Harry Potter waving a non-existent wand, and shouting ‘Petronus!’ Somebody wrote it down, who hoped that you’d buy into it.

The odds of Life arising spontaneously, are 1 with 41,000 zeroes behind it.

It didn’t have to go all the way to the last zero to be successful. It might have happened on the first – or the tenth – or the thousandth time. And all the attempts need not be sequential. In Earth’s reported early ages, the chemical soup in the oceans was thick, and there were tens of thousands of lightning strikes PER DAY, which might have catalyzed primitive life.

Question: Was there ever a time when there was no chemical soup, no oceans, no lightning strikes or electricity, no Earth?

Yes. What’s your point?

Was there ever a time when there was no chemical soup, no oceans, no lightning strikes or electricity, no Earth?

(Well, that certainly clarifies that! 😛 )
In the beginning, if the scientific and mathematical evidence is valid, 13.8 Billion years ago, ‘The Big Bang’ allowed a hyper-dense singularity, containing all matter, to expand and become the Universe of today.

If geological research is correct, the Earth came into existence about 4.5 billion years ago. This leaves over 9 Billion years in-between, twice the time that the Earth has existed, when stars were born and died. Some exploded into novas, and super-novas, fusing hydrogen and helium into the heavier and heavier elements necessary for the rise of life. Eventually gravitational tides caused some of it to agglomerate, and coalesce into our galaxy, our sun, our solar system, our planet.

Even then, it took over a billion years for the Earth to cool enough to allow the existence of liquid water, and the chemical soup that life was spurred from. Yes, once upon a time – actually, for a really long time – there was no Earth, no oceans, no soup, no lightning, no life. So what??! There is also no proof – no vague indication – that the butler God did it.

I think I answered this (a claim that Atheists can’t be happy without God) in my final paragraph in the article, for those who believe in Genesis 1:1; it’s the verse that divides. I actually think you’d agree with that statement.

Actually, I don’t agree with it, because, actually, you didn’t ’answer’ it. You made a statement – an unproven claim – which buttresses your opinions, ignoring the statements of Atheists. This is merely the first of dozens – hundreds – of verses which divide, not merely Christians from Atheists, but often one sect of Christians from the rest. I have a file with 23 pages of examples of mistakes and contradictions in the Bible. One verse says one thing, and a page or two later, another verse says something entirely different.

There’s no compelling reason for another atheist to adopt your moral imperative as their own, and many don’t. If no God created, then why should they have to? Yours is no doubt better for your neighbours than some of the things other atheists have adopted, and it may be better in practice than some who claim to be Christians do. But still, it comes back to the fact that you are the one who has decided it, and it has no answer for death. You are supreme while you are alive but you will submit to death, so your supremacy is limited. Death is supreme for you — you claim supremacy now, but you know it is only temporary.

I realize that it makes you feel better to phrase statements like this, in a way that reinforces your stance and beliefs. Of course there is no compelling reason for anyone to accept my beliefs except me. Each person should be free within their own mind. There need be no imperative. There is no dogma among Atheists, as there is in Christian churches. This whole statement seriously disturbs me. People who compel others are – at best, bullies – at worst, criminals.

This appetite for compulsion and competition is worrying. Life is not a game, to be lost or won. Rather, we all should do the best we can with what we have. I make no claim of supremacy, whether over Death, or anyone else, and I have no answer for Death. It is inevitable. Life, indeed, is temporary. Make the most of it that you can, while you have it. Don’t wait for God to (maybe) iron out your wrinkles, once you’re gone.   😳

***

BTW:

I just had an epiphany. Atheists are allowed to have them. While I was getting the above post ready to publish, I heard (All Christmas – All The Time) The Little Drummer Boy song. For years, it has drifted in one ear and out the other, with no thought. Suddenly, I realized what is being unwittingly portrayed.

“A Little Drummer Boy is not just some kid in an elementary school band. A drummer boy is the child, trained to beat out the cadences for ancient armies. The bugler conveyed the orders to march, attack, retreat, wheel left, etc. The drummer boy set the pace for thousands of men to kill and maim each other.

It is disturbing that this song shows him displaying his martial abilities…. to the Prince of Peace. 👿

Even other Christians are disturbed at a new trend this Christmas.  More and more ‘Good Christians’ are adding crosses to their Nativity scenes.  There are two, very different stories within the New Testament.  One is about the birth of the Christ child.  The other is about the death of the Messiah.  They should not be confused for one another.  This just seems to say, “Open your eyes, kid.  See what they have in store for you.”  😯

’19 A To Z Challenge – T

Eating Contest

Oh, to be able to eat like a teen-ager again: to put away food like we were eating Mom and Dad out of house and home: when my hyper-kinetic lifestyle and metabolism shed calories and pounds like Donald Trump going through White House advisors.

Once upon a time, the majority of people worked for a living. Nowadays, in the First World, the hardest work most of us do is tap a keyboard, whether in an office, or while watching a robot or automated machine do the heavy lifting. Weight loss/control has become an expanding business.

In the auto-parts plant, I moved 9 tons (almost 18,000 pounds) of material per day, by hand, and ate like it. A couple of hundred years ago, that would have been considered the opening act. Those guys needed FOOD to fuel their work. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you

TRENCHERMAN

Not a superhero who lays pipe or cable, but,

a person who has a hearty appetite; a heavy eater.
a person who enjoys food; hearty eater

Origin of trencher

1275–1325; Middle English trenchour something to cut with or on: Anglo-French; Middle French
New French – trancher – board or plank
a rectangular or circular flat piece of wood on which meat, or other food, is served or carved.

The heavy-eating manual laborers who could be described as trenchermen needed something for their food to be served on/in. They could hardly take fine china to their worksite, or even rude pottery. It was often too likely to be broken or lost, and Tupperware© and Rubbermaid© hadn’t been invented yet.

These rough-and-ready laborers got their meals served on rough-and-ready platters, chunks of lumber that didn’t go into the buildings that they were erecting – slivers and splinters just added needed fiber. The nearest modern equivalent is the cardboard pizza box. Although I’d like to, I can’t eat an entire pizza any more – even a small one. Fortunately, Ziploc© has invented plastic bags, in which to save the leftovers for another day.

He left us too soon, partly because of his trencherman actions, but funny-man John Pinette has an amusing YouTube clip, entitled Around The World In 80 Buffets. Drop back in a couple of days. Not too early though, I’ll be over at Shoney’s for their Early Bird Special.   😉

Flash Fiction #213

Empty Head

THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS

My department supervisor had insisted that I enroll in this self-help course. It was supposed to remove insecurities, and build self-confidence. To do public speaking – delivering a report to a group of executives – we were taught all the tricks, including imagining your audience naked. The cute girl from accounting might be interesting, but the two engineers were ugly.

The instructor said, “Rodney, stand and give the group a 2-minute talk about something that interests you.” I had become fearless. I bravely stood, and stood – and stood…. I couldn’t think of anything. The body was willing, but the mind was weak.

***

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

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Lies We (Can) Tell Each Other

Pinnochio

Here’s a chance to lie your face off. Choose any or all of the following questions, and tell it like it isn’t. Go big, or go home. Copy the questions and post them on your own site, for others to see. Imagine away! 😉

  1. Can a woodchuck chuck more wood than a woodpecker can peck?
    2. If you put something where the Sun does not shine, where did it go?
    3. What did Columbus say when he landed in the New World?
    4. Why was Nero playing his fiddle when Rome burned?
    5. If you are retired, can you still observe Labor Day?
    6. Where did the Amazons come from?
    7. Who started the Trojan War?
    8. Since corn oil is made from corn and vegetable oil is made from vegetables, where does baby oil come from?
    9. Why is the man who invests all of your money called a broker?
    10. The #2 pencil seems to be the most popular, so why doesn’t someone invent a #1 pencil?
    11. If there was an Eighth Dwarf along with Bashful, Doc, Dopey, Grumpy, Happy, Sneezy and Sleepy, what would his name be?
    12. Why are zebras striped?
    13. If the Love Bug hadn’t been a Volkswagen beetle, what would it have been?
    14. Why aren’t we on Cloud 10 when we’re happy?
    15. Why do we draw curtains?
    16. What is the difference between cottage pie and shepherd’s pie?
    17. Are wine gums alcoholic?
    18. What’s the best way to diet?
    19. What is a homonym?
    20. Why do witches always seem to wear stripey socks?

These are my answers, and I’m sticking to them. Make up some of your own.

  1. He could, but it’s a matter of sequence. He has to wait for the woodpecker to peck it loose, before he can chuck it. Like the two Newfies who came to Ontario to find jobs. One was a woodcutter, the other was a pilot. The employment agency didn’t have any call for a woodcutter, but felt they could employ a pilot. “But, if I doesn’t cut it, he can’t pilot!”
  2. Tacoma, Washington
  3. “Here goes the neighborhood.”
  4. Because nobody was allowed to call him a lyre.
  5. Only if you have a young, pregnant, trophy-wife.
  6. I’m not sure. My last one was delivered by a drone.
  7. A hooker with STDs
  8. Not sure, but they DO cry when the drill goes in.
  9. Because, when he’s finished, you’re broker than when he started – also, because all the correct names are prohibited by slander/libel/defamation laws.
  10. Actually, the #1 pencil exists. It’s just that Avis car rental gave away tons of #2 pencils as a marketing scheme. “We’re #2, and we try harder.” Nobody remembers poor #1 pencil. Better to wonder what happened to Preparations A through G.  Take’em and stick ’em…. where the sun don’t shine.
  11. His name is Sleazy. He wasn’t there when Snow White dropped in – just as well. He was in prison with that Epstein pervert.
  12. Even when you say that you’ve spotted a zebra – it’s striped. They decided to give up half their (bad) black pigmentation for better PR, but it didn’t work out.
  13. See #7
  14. Clouds were developed over many years, right up to Cloud 9. When the computer was invented, it was decided not to assign the next one number 10, because it might cause digital confusion. Cloud 9 has been rebranded as Cloud 1001.
  15. I draw a blank on this question. With my shake, I can’t draw curtains. I just download photos of them from Shutterstock.
  16. Obviously cottage pie is eaten indoors, while shepherd’s pie is eaten in the fields with the flock. Sheep are herbivores, so there’s no danger, but watch out for rampaging hedgehogs.
  17. Wine gums are not alcoholic, but a person who eats them often is.
  18. While at the dining table, allow your arms to hang straight down. Bend your elbows 90 degrees. Place your fingers on the top edge of the table, and your thumbs underneath. Grasp the table firmly…. and push away before second helpings.
  19. That’s a nasty, pejorative name that Christian Fundamentalists and other bigots use, when they can’t pronounce LGBT.
  20. See #12 The half of the black stripes that the zebras gave up were used to pattern socks. Only witches would wear the black ones, until they were all used up. Now they wear stripey socks of the whole rainbow of colors – and the Fundies think they’re LGBT.

I feel the truth serum kicking in. I cannot tell a lie. I chopped down Ben Franklin’s kite, and used it to write my next blog-post on. Stop back again in a couple of days, and see what happens when someone makes an honest man of me. 😉