Dictionary, Shmictionary

Time to confess: tell us about a time when you used a word whose meaning you didn’t actually know (or were very wrong about, in retrospect).

I am told that I often don’t use my words, but I think it’s often the case of me not wanting to say things at all rather than me saying things incorrectly. I’m aware I can also mumble and overuse words. Not words that I regularly use, but there are two words that are becoming a menace to the English language in my opinion.

The first is “sick”. The first time I heard this used to describe something good, it came in the sentence “Look at that dog – it’s sick!” I turned and thought it looked perfectly fine so couldn’t understand the remark. Usually words that enter the slang dictionary at least have some link to their normal meaning, somewhere along the line. For example, describing something as “fierce” can work for something that looks aggressive – “look her eyebrows. They’re fierce”. Indeed, yes, I’m ****ing terrified of those monstrosities residing above her eyes.

But how can the word “sick” be used to describe something good? Sick denotes illness when used as a verb or adjective and, worse as a noun, is uncomfortably warm, smelly, contains incongruous carrots and makes your eyes sting if you fall asleep in it. How is any of that good?

The second word that annoys me at the moment is “banter”. It’s most commonly found in the sentence “Must have banter” which in turn is usually succeeded by “and a beard and tattoos.” I don’t understand why people must be able to take the Mick out of someone else. Surely they can just be funny with the odd cheeky comment thrown in. No need to be demeaning all the time. This leads me to believe that some people don’t understand the meaning. Perhaps it’s just one of those words that is overused, or maybe I really am just boring.

I’m just a poor boy, nobody loves me.
He’s just a poor boy from a poor family,
Spare him his life from this one cup of tea.

Bohemian Rhapsody bt Queen (or have I used the wrong words?)

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