Monday, May 9, 2016
They Had that Word Back Then?
They sure did.
Today I thought we'd time-trip to 1916 just to see what words were birthed in that year--words that we think are so modern.
Superbugs--When we say the word 'super' we may first think of Superman or superheroes, but its first use originated with some tough little insects that would laugh at a can of Raid. Yep, all the way back in 1916 we had superbugs. The little rascals were already taking a page from Nietzche: "That which does not destroy me, makes me stronger."
Hush-hush--Wars and spy guys have been around, well, since we've had wars, but the term 'hush-hush' wasn't used until 1916...that we know of. Shhhh...it means that, uh, we can't tell you what it means. It's a secret.
Goof--Interesting that this word, meaning "a stupid or foolish person," came out about the same time as 'hush-hush'. Could it be a coincidence? I wonder.
Dysfunction--And going right along with the last two words, we have this psychological word, meaning "impaired or abnormal functioning."
Over the top--This one has a grisly origin, from World War I trench warfare, where soldiers charged over the top of trenches to storm the enemy, with, of course, disastrous results. By 1935, the word's meaning had evolved to simply mean some form of excessive behavior. However, depending on the circumstances, it may still have disastrous results.
I thought this little trip into our wordy past might prove insightful. Sometimes it's good to see where some of our common words originated.
Keep writing, friends.