Posts Tagged ‘Neologism’

Flag of the United States on American astronau...

Flag of the United States on American astronaut Neil Armstrong’s space suit (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Having spent a good part of last week and this weekend listening to the news channels practically all day, the word radicalization kept popping up.  This is not a word we use in our everyday conversation and so its use stood out in broadcast.  Of course its use and application in this instance made it all the more prominent.

It got me thinking about another word that is used again and again in news broadcasts: Embedded.  You hear this word whenever the news is about a war or war zone.  It refers to a journalist or reporter who is traveling along with a platoon or regiment and he or she are embedded with the troops.

Interesting that these two words stand out to me and I am trying to think of some more words that have been co-opted into a use other than perhaps their original meaning and intent.  Sadly, these two words apply to our state of the world where terrorism, unrest, war and strife are often front page news.

I grew up in the 50’s and other than listening to war stories from my Dad, I don’t remember any new words creeping into our vernacular.  Well let me amend that by adding astronaut, cosmonaut, sputnik and muttnik were certainly words I had not encountered up to the point when the USSR and the USA  began to race to space.  

The next influx of terms and words that I remember coming into everyday use, came as a result of the Vietnam War.  Napalm, Agent Orange, guerilla warfare are just a few that come to mind (it was a long time ago).  Again the language of war!  So sad that it is under severe circumstances that the new words appear or the old ones take on a nuance, we’ve not acknowledged before.

Of course the technology of the late 70’s and 80’s and 90’s has brought us not only words but a whole new language.  Gigabytes, megabytes, micro chips, HTML, beta, VCR, CD, DVD, Tivo, hard drive, software, hardware, firewall, spam, and on and on.  I know a whole blog post could be created just with the language of technology – I could start with Hi-Fi !!

Other than the slang of youth, their own mis-use and/or decision to re-invent a meaning of a word (i.e. like, random, down, sick) and so on, I wonder what other words have come into our daily vernacular?  What words do you know or remember as taking on a new meaning or were or are being used on a much more regular basis?  PLEASE let us all know.  I just dashed this blog post off this morning without much aforethought and no research so would greatly appreciate reader input!!

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English: Six-Word Memoir book cover image

English: Six-Word Memoir book cover image (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hey I’ve tried a couple of times and so far have failed to ignite my readers to just think about things; like life, love, kids, work, places, people, death, relationships and to put it down in just six words.  You know what I always say, “Just Six Words, No More, No Less”.

I thought of a few today so I’ll post mine and see what comes forth!!!

1.  I thought this week was over:(

2. Full moon, frost, flock of robins!

3. A new beginning began today. YES!

4. Renewed in spirit, refreshed in hope.

5. Craks, dots, Damn! I need Bams.

As you can see there is no real thread or theme here.  Just emote.

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Future Shock



and some OBSOLETE ones too

In one week I heard three almost-obsolete phrases used…so you can safely assume I’m hanging out with people my own age, lol, lol.  With language changing at a speed equivalent to Alvin Toffler‘s Future Shock,  that is phrases, terms, and words I grew up with are now nearly obsolete and now there is a host of new words or rather in my opinion old words and the younger generations have assigned new meanings to them – but more about that later.

First off, I heard someone say, “You don’t know diddly-squat about….”.  So what exactly is diddlysquat? I think you can pretty much guess that anyone under the age of 50 is going to say, “you don’t know shit and that’s the meaning of diddly-squat.  Actually in this case, squat is a euphemism  for the word shit.

The original term doodly-squat dates from about 1934.  There is no definite origin except that the word doodly was used to refer to: a fool, a Union soldier, a penis, cheating…well you get the gist.  And squat was the nice way to say shit.  About 1963 Diddly-squat appeared in dictionaries and in 1964, Diddly-shit.

Then in a TCM movie (do we ever watch anything else !!??), one of the characters went “on the lam”.   The roots of this term are in Old English; lam, lammister, on the lam all refer to a hasty departure and were common in thieve’s slang.   The allusion in lam is to beat or beat it in Old English meaning to leave.

Lastly, I heard the term larder which I know to mean a cool place built to store the food supply prior to refrigeration or ice boxes.    Larders were small rooms or areas usually adjacent to the kitchen.  This room would have shelves and maybe a small window covered in fine mesh to keep air circulating but flies out.  Some would have hooks on the wall to hang a slab of meat.

I know this next is worthy of a blog post unto itself so I will only use one word as an example and I know I used it before.  Today’s younger generation and I’m embarrassed to say that my soon-to-be-34 daughter, wife and mother of two darling little girls uses this term regularly.  As in, “so we went to this random restaurant” and “I don’t know, it was some random girl” and “why don’t you just get some random toy” – WTF?  A new language in the making.  RANDOM means: adjective


proceeding, made, or occurring without definite aim, reason, or pattern: the random selection of numbers.

Statistics . of or characterizing a process of selection in which each item of a set has an equal probability of being chosen.

Building Trades .  


(of building materials) lacking uniformity of dimensions: random shingles.

(of ashlar) laid without continuous courses.

constructed or applied without regularity: random bond.


Chiefly British . bank3 ( def. 7b ) .


Building Trades . without uniformity: random-sized slates.


6. at random, without definite aim, purpose, method, or adherence to a prior arrangement; in a haphazard way: Contestants were chosen at random from the

studio audience.

I’m going to start taking note of more of the new meanings  being assigned to words  and in the future we can explore  just what they are really saying. LOL

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