Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Awesomely Awesome

What is with the overuse of the word ‘awesome’ today?

Everywhere I go, someone describes something as ‘awesome’. A cake is awesome, holidays are awesome, a TV show is awesome. I have even been told that I’m awesome. Really? That’s very flattering, but if I’m honest, then I really can’t say that’s true.

The Macquarie Dictionary (1991) defines awe as:
1. Respectful or reverential fear, inspired by what is grand or sublime.
2. Power to inspire fear or reverence.
3. Fear or dread.
(page 117)

In light of that definition, can a cake really be awesome? You fear a cake? Do you bow down before it in reverence? Really?

A cake is not awesome, it is tasty.

If the dictionary definition is correct, then there are very few things that can truly be awesome. Personally, I don’t want to use the word awesome to describe anything but God. It’s not about being legalistic or nitpicky. For me, it’s about acknowledging that our mighty God is the one who is truly awesome.

So why do people overuse the word ‘awesome’?

I don’t get it. Please explain….


Michael Hunt said...

Isn't this just one of many examples of words having a technical meaning and a common meaning that can be quite different from each other. Eg, My mums name is Gay wich had quite a different meaning in the 50's than what it does today. Language is after all an evolving thing and given that we are creating more and more new words everyday it is understandable that sometimes old words get repurposed with new meanings.

I do understand you peeve that good technical meanings are lost when words are wrongly used. Think about the technical meaning of the word Christian (one who is life Christ) and how differently people understand the term today.

Anyhow I'll finish off by saying that your blog is 'prose of stimulating value to its readers' :-)

P.S. Will you be putting up a pic of the Kojonup digs to replace your current banner on the blog?

Iris Flavia said...

Michael Hunt is quite right. Here people add an "Alter" at the end of nearly each sentence (meaning old (man)). Especially younger people. It has no meaning, huh? But even I get overrolled by that "hype" and find myself saying it at times (and, at least, meaning men, like, get your car outta my face, Alter!)... ;-)

Sarah said...

Yeah I think you're right, Michael. It's another one of those words like gay or wicked which have changed meaning. To mnay people today, awesome probably just means it is good.

I'll change the blog banner on my 5th blogoversary in June :)

Rianna Rowsell said...

I am the biggest user of the word I know. I also call just about every bloke I talk to "man". There is no hope for me, I'll only replace these annoying words with others when I get bored!

mark said...

Awesome post Sarah.