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← The "So" meme

Tiende Landeplage's Avatar Jump to comment 69 by Tiende Landeplage

Comment 37 by Steve Zara

I have been fascinated to follow one developing meme which is a use of reverse meaning, as in 'bad' meaning 'good'. I'm sure everyone has come across the more recent use of 'wicked' to mean 'excellent'. An even more recent example is 'sick' to mean something like 'nice'.

This reminds me of, and may perhaps be related to, an older phenomenon which I think applies to many languages, namely describing something positive with adjectives and adverbs otherwise associated with the negative:

"It was terribly nice of you", "The book was frightfully good", etc.

In similar fashion, words that once simply meant "unreal", "inconceivable" or "unrealistic" have now come to mean something good: Fantastic, incredible, etc.

This is most apparent when reading older texts where these words are used in their original sense. For example, in earlier days one might have said that "the Holocaust was fantastic," meaning too horrible to fathom, but now such a statement would be taken as approval!

Sun, 04 Mar 2012 18:58:11 UTC | #924364