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What are some words that had a traditional meaning but have been redifined by more...

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monique06

Posted August 13, 2012 at 10:37 AM via web

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What are some words that had a traditional meaning but have been redifined by more recent cultures?

Thinking  in terms of parents' language and how it changed to other generation, computer language's impact on society or maybe how children now talk compared to today's  language.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 13, 2012 at 1:19 PM (Answer #1)

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The word whose meaning has changed most strikingly in recent times is the word "gay."  When my parents were growing up in the 1950s, this word still meant "happy" or "carefree."  Songs in popular movies could still refer to someone feeling gay.  This is inconceivable today as the word "gay" has come to be used almost solely in reference to homosexuality.

There are other words that have acquired new meanings, but without doing away with the old meanings.  We have new slang terms like "tight" or "bomb" that enter the vernacular, but their new meanings have not done away with their old meanings.  The same goes for computer or internet-related words such as "text" or "driver."  

While words like those in the paragraph have acquired new meanings, no word has had its meaning change completely the way "gay" has.

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