25
   

ABUSED WORDS

 
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 May, 2009 10:48 am
@Setanta,
icon (M-W)

icon
Variant(s): also ikon \ˈī-ˌkän\
Function: noun
Etymology: Latin, from Greek eikōn, from eikenai to resemble
Date: 1572
1: a usually pictorial representation : image
2 [Late Greek eikōn, from Greek] : a conventional religious image typically painted on a small wooden panel and used in the devotions of Eastern Christians
3: an object of uncritical devotion : idol
4: emblem, symbol <the house became an icon of 1960's residential architecture " Paul Goldberger>
5 a: a sign (as a word or graphic symbol) whose form suggests its meaning b: a graphic symbol on a computer display screen that usually suggests the type of object represented or the purpose of an available function
" icon·ic \ī-ˈkä-nik\ adjective
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 May, 2009 11:00 am
@ehBeth,
That literally blew my mind.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 May, 2009 11:26 am
@DrewDad,
. . . in a figurative sort of way?
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 May, 2009 11:52 am
On TV news:
thunderstorms rumbling
something went terribly wrong

Some days, "something went terribly wrong" in two or more stories within the half hour.
Francis
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 May, 2009 12:23 pm
Yes, Miss Letty and Drew, the Romans used to kill one man chosen by lot out of every ten in a legion or other military group, if their armies were defeated..
Chumly
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 May, 2009 12:31 pm
Virtual
Cyber
Hyper
Mega
Shapeless
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 May, 2009 12:33 pm
@DrewDad,
Quote:
I'm not following how it was misused.


As your link noted, even when "enormity" is used to denote size, it is not simply referring to largeness but to the overwhelming consequences of said largeness. In the line from Ocean's 13, I'm willing to bet that the speaker was not referring to the primary meaning of the word, namely something outrageous or monstrous to contemplate. I'm also not totally convinced that they were using the secondary meaning of the word, meaning a size that is overwhelming to contemplate. I think they just meant "big." I guess I could write a letter to the screenwriter and ask.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 May, 2009 12:43 pm
@edgarblythe,
Quote:
Some days, "something went terribly wrong" in two or more stories within the half hour.


This is exactly the sort of thing i mean. It's not simply a questionable or incorrect use of a word, it's the flogging it to death. Everything which is intended to be described in superlative terms these days gets described as iconic.

It can be very specific, too. When the US was closing in on Noriega, before we casually killed hundreds of Panamanian bystanders to get him, and for long after we got him, he was described as "Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega." It reached the point at which Noriega was almost never mentioned without describing him as "Panamanian strongman."

They're doing that with iconic these days, and they did it in the 90s with paradigm. It's a verbal kind of hip, where you show that you are hip by working the word into your remarks.
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 May, 2009 01:28 pm
@Chumly,
You left out 'nano', Chumly.
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 May, 2009 02:03 pm
@Francis,
Francis wrote:

Yes, Miss Letty and Drew, the Romans used to kill one man chosen by lot out of every ten in a legion or other military group, if their armies were defeated..

Yeah, I'm aware of that.

But it also means, "cause great destruction or harm" as well.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 May, 2009 02:06 pm
@Shapeless,
The "usage" section addressed that:
Quote:
Enormity, some people insist, is improperly used to denote large size. They insist on enormousness for this meaning, and would limit enormity to the meaning “great wickedness.” Those who urge such a limitation may not recognize the subtlety with which enormity is actually used.
George
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 May, 2009 02:12 pm
Not that the word is necessarily misused, but I am sick of hearing "famously"
used in sentences like
As Mark Twain famously said . . .
0 Replies
 
Shapeless
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 May, 2009 02:14 pm
@DrewDad,
I saw that, but when juxtaposed with the comments that follow ("When used to denote large size, either literal or figurative, it usually suggests something so large as to seem overwhelming"), I read the comment as advocating a nuanced understanding of the word, and "bigness" doesn't seem that nuanced or subtle to me. I agree that the word needn't be limited to simply "wickedness," but for the same reason I don't think the word should be conflated with "bigness."
0 Replies
 
Reyn
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 May, 2009 02:20 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:
What words do you hear all the time that just sends you screaming?

'Multi-tasking', as used by employers to describe one of the requirements of a job they're advertising for.

Multi-tasking, as used to describe a human activity, is BS.

"Human multi-tasking or multitasking is the performance by an individual of appearing to handle more than one task at the same time. The term is derived from computer multitasking. An example of multitasking is listening to a radio interview while typing an email. Multitasking can result in time wasted due to human context switching and apparently causing more errors due to insufficient attention.

Research on human multitasking
Since the 1990s, experimental psychologists have started experiments on the nature and limits of human multitasking. It has been proven multitasking is not as workable as concentrated times. In general, these studies have disclosed that people show severe interference when even very simple tasks are performed at the same time, if both tasks require selecting and producing action (e.g., Gladstones, Regan, & Lee, 1989; Pashler, 1994). Many researchers believe that action planning represents a "bottleneck", which the human brain can only perform one task at a time."


link
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 May, 2009 02:38 pm
I think the word "amazing" is misused.. by virtue of its overuse. If every person, place, or thing that is described as amazing, was amazing, we'd all be smack out of our supplies of wonder and marching into permanent states of boredom.
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 May, 2009 02:58 pm
@Reyn,
Oh, yeah. Whenever I saw multitasking in a classified ad, I read no further. I actually did know one person who could pull it off. She was amazing (sorry osso).
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 May, 2009 03:22 pm
@Setanta,
Quote:
A commentator referred to a musician's new CD as "icnonic," and proceeded to describe it as "groundbreaking," and a departure from established styles--it was therefore clearly not iconic. I heard a news reader yesterday refer to the temple mount in Jerusalem as "iconic"--but the temple mount is one of a kind, it does not follow any convention.


Words don't just have meaning, they also have nuances. In your zeal, you may well have missed those, Set.

Without a fuller context we can't tell but both examples could have met with meaning 3, from M-W.

Quote:

M-W

3: an object of uncritical devotion : IDOL

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/iconic
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 May, 2009 03:28 pm
@Setanta,
Quote:
Set wrote:
Roger, i hate it when people speak as though decimated means a lot of people were killed. It only means every tenth man.



Quote:


M-W:
decimate

1: to select by lot and kill every tenth man of
2: to exact a tax of 10 percent from <poor as a decimated Cavalier " John Dryden>
3 a: to reduce drastically especially in number <cholera decimated the population> b: to cause great destruction or harm to <firebombs decimated the city> <an industry decimated by recession>
b: to cause great destruction or harm to <firebombs decimated the city> <an industry decimated by recession>
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 May, 2009 03:32 pm
@ebrown p,
Quote:

M-W

3: expressible or approximately expressible by an exponential function ; especially : characterized by or being an extremely rapid increase (as in size or extent) <an exponential growth rate>


We borrow words from other languages, EBP, and massage them to fit English,; we also borrow words from certain fields and they too morph to fit nuances of daily life.

0 Replies
 
TilleyWink
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 May, 2009 03:36 pm
@Setanta,
It seems there is always a catch word wonderying around. Right now my peeve is a catch phrase, "it is what it is", the new non answer I guess.
 

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