Thursday, August 4, 2011

Terminology Timidity

The Prude has learned that terms and their definitions are changing every day.

The meaning of  ‘gay’ has metamorphosiszed at least 3 times in her life and she has gotten it wrong at each stage.

She hesitates to label anything ‘bad’ since she believes at some point in the last couple of decades it meant ‘good’ and isn’t sure if it now means ‘bad’ again. Or whether it is a adjective or a noun.

A dog was your 4-legged best friend or a distasteful term for a not-perfectly-lovely woman but now is what you call your good buddy.

Her children announced they would never again show their faces in public when The Prude asked to try on some thongs at the store.

While 'raw' used to to mean 'opposite of cooked', 'tight' used to be shoes that pinched or to describe a tipsy person and 'tripping' was what a tipsy person in tight shoes often did,
now 'raw' and 'tight' are considered compliments and 'tripping' refers to messing up.

But 2 words she would have considered sacrosanct, unambiguous and completely comprehensible are:
One, and

But she was wrong.

At drive-through windows of fast food establishments, she always asks for ONE extra catsup.
She has never ever EVER  been given ONE catsup.
She gets this many:

Or more.

And when she purchased this handy insect repeller, she was delighted to note that it came with a REFILL.
She assumed ‘refill’ meant ‘fill again’ with the deduction being that when repellant that filled the repeller was empty she could REFILL it with the REFILL.

She was–you guessed it–wrong.
The insect repeller, when she first cracked it open, contained nothing but air molecules. 
She filled it for the first time with something called a refill but that The Prude would label a ‘First Fill’.
My bad.


Lori said...

You give yet more food for thought...

My favorite portion of your terminology review was the discussion of the meaning of the word one. I have had similar experiences at drive-throughs countless times.

Abbie Grace said...

Yeah, and apparently when you want extra ketchup, they give you one or two little things... So maybe instead of saying "one", you should say "extra".

Robin J. Steinweg said...

Yah, and a "keyboard" used to be a musical instrument, and a doc had gone to med school. Now one has to do with typing, and the other is some sort of thingie you typed.

"Term" itself was a word description. Now it's a period of time at school. sigh.

You have your finger on the pulse of the world, Prude!!!!