Saturday, 7 September 2013

The Saturday List #42 - words where the meaning has changed

I was listening to the radio yesterday and I heard the term "tranny" to describe a transistor radio. It was the first time I'd heard that particular word, used in that way for years. I thought that "words where the meaning has changed" would be a good Saturday list. Feel free to add your own.

1. Tranny.

2. Gay

3. Wicked

4. Fit

5. Spam

6. Posted

7. Mincing

8. Cool

9. Creep

10. Resigned

The first book I read was 1984 by George Orwell. I found some of the concepts fascinating, but back in 1974, I found the Orwellian concept of "NEWSPEAK" ridiculous. On Thursday night I was having a conversation with some friends in the pub and one asked if I could remember the signs outside John Grooms building on the A41. There was a big sign saying "Cripples Crossing". John Grooms home was known as the "the Crippleage". Many words in common use in the 1970's have been deemed "not fit for purpose" and replaced with more neutral terms. Perhaps the reason that English has become the pre-eminent language of international business is because it is adaptable and we have no sacred cows. It will be interesting to see what words commonly in use today have disappeared or had their common meanings changed. If I went back to 1963 and said 

I awoke to turn on the Tranny. The lovely music made me feel so Gay but the news listed some Wicked events and deflated my mood. A Cabinet Minister has Resigned for telling lies to the House of Commons.  I saw my neighbour exercising in the garden. She is rather Fit, sadly though I am addicted to Spam and other less than healthy delights. I walked to the Post Office and Posted some notices. I then saw the Butcher. His shop is rather Cool. My pet Beagle would Creep in and nab the odd sausage whilst the Butcher is busy Mincing.

I doubt anyone would have sniggered or even batted an eyelid. How the world changes !

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