SHANE’S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS: “10 words that don’t mean what they used to.”


Welcome to another installment of SHANE’S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS, a regular Wednesday feature at NA Confidential.

But why all these newfangled words?

Why not the old, familiar, comforting words, like the ones you’re sure to hear when asking the city’s corporate attorney why the answers to my FOIA/public records request for Bicentennial commission finances, due to be handed over on July 8, still haven’t arrived on November 2?

Bicentennial commission financial trail? What’s two (yawn) weeks (shrug) after 463 days?

November 2 update: Make that 17 weeks since the FOIA record request’s due date and 567 days since I asked Bullet Bob Caesar to tell us how many coffee table books were left unsold, and how much the city’s 200-year “summer of love” fest actually cost us. It’s with Indiana’s public access counselor now, so perhaps “compliance” would be a word for future consideration. 

No, it’s because a healthy vocabulary isn’t about intimidation through erudition. Rather, it’s about selecting the right word and using it correctly, whatever one’s pay grade or station in life.

Even these very same iniquitous, paving-bond-slush-engorged municipal corporate attorneys who customarily are handsomely remunerated to suppress information can benefit from this enlightening expansion of personal horizons, and really, as we contemplate what they knew and when they knew it, all we have left is plenty of time — and the opportunity to learn something, if we’re so inclined.

Today’s words are found here:

10 words that don’t mean what they used to: when meerkats were monkeys and bimbos were boys, by Paul Anthony Jones (The Guardian)

Did you know that alcohol originally meant eyeshadow, clouds were rocks or that a moment once lasted precisely 90 seconds? Read on, girls and bimbos …

It’s by no means unusual for words to change their meaning over time. But thanks to the twists and turns of language – and the convoluted history of English, in particular – some words end up quite a distance from where they began, as the following bizarre etymological stories illustrate.