Being a writer, I take language: the meanings and flow of words, seriously. Words have power and precise meanings. Effective communication means using words properly. Throwing together a mish-mash of terms or making words up by splicing improper suffixes onto a good word breeds confusion. Even newscasters are trying to sound hyper-intelligent by tossing out big words spliced together using parts of two legitimate words.
But common terms are abused as well. Just now I was asked if my truck runs on diesel gasoline. This was not an either-or question, it was a yes-no question. Diesel fuel and gasoline are two different things. Using them together caused a train crash in the switch yard of my brain and boggled me for a moment.
An acquaintance often used the word “empowerized”, a melding of empowered and energized to convey vitality and excitement. But it sent a little shiver up my neck every time I heard it.
A few other language laughables I can think of include:
- I’ll go convertsate with him
- I’m so flustrated!
- That’s supposably a great new product.
- A CEO philanthropist was referred to as a philanthropreneur by a news anchor.
- Sorry, I’m not sure where I am. I need to get orientated.
I could go on, but you get the idea. And this doesn’t even get into words like irregardless. Regardless means without regard. Sticking the “ir” on the front makes it mean “not without regard” which is the opposite of what they’re trying to say. There are SO many of these in common use today that I could go on all day. But I’ll spare you that.
Now to be fair, the English language that we have today was made up by sticking bits of words from many other languages together. And it evolves as each generation rises up and squishes it into their own mold of preferred expression. So I may have no right at all to complain about younger people making up or twisting words into new meanings. Maybe I’m just getting old and cranky. Maybe I should just suckupicate and deal with it.