August 4, 2017

Words Matter Rant

I like to think of myself as a man possessed of a decent vocabulary.  No, I'm not the wordsmith that LawDog is, nor that of Ambulance Driver, but I've got a pretty solid grasp on what words mean, and more importantly, what they DON'T mean.

And one thing I've noticed, and this started some years ago but has gotten noticeably worse in the last year or so, is the propensity of people to use a word that doesn't mean at all what they think it means.

To wit:

"This senator DESTROYED the President with a single tweet!"

"With just four words, a high school student ANNIHILATED his teacher's criticism!"

"Reading this will make liberal's heads EXPLODE!"


OK, first, let's admit that we all engage in a bit of hyperbole now and then, and it's understandable.  But are we really to the point where we can't come up with a better turn of phrase?

Because the President wasn't "DESTROYED!", in point of fact.  He still exists.  He's still President.  The atoms and molecules that make up his body are, well, still atoms and molecules.

Ditto the teacher.  Dictionary.com tells us that "annihilate" is defined thus:

1. to reduce to utter ruin or nonexistence; destroy utterly:
The heavy bombing almost annihilated the city.
2. to destroy the collective existence or main body of; wipe out:
to annihilate an army.
3. to annul; make void:
to annihilate a law.
4. to cancel the effect of; nullify.
I suggest that the teacher in question remains in existence, hasn't been "wipted out", and isn't annuled or voided.

I won't expand on the exploding head thing, because that would mean brains all over the place, and I just mopped.

But these sensationalist "click bait" titles are getting annoying, and I'v gotten to the point where if I see one, I can guaran-damn-tee you that I won't bother looking at it.



1 comment:

Old NFO said...

Anymore it's ALL clickbait... sigh