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What are some words that have had a traditional meaning but have been redefined by more recent culture? Think in terms of your parents' language and how it changed to your generation, computer language's impact on society, or maybe how your kids talk compared to your use of language. Please be mindful not to use examples that are inappropriate for an academic setting or may be offensive to others.

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Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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There are so many examples of how words have changed over the years, going back hundreds of years. For example, the word "awful" used to mean "full of awe."  Words also change from one generation to the next.  There are many reasons for this, but slang and technology have certainly contributed to the process.

Slang, which used to be used mostly by younger people, to have a "language" of their own, has become more widespread among all generations, so that I sometimes hear things such as older people saying "Hey, dude." Words such as "gay," though, have completely entered the common language, with everyone now agreeing upon a new meaning, the word being used by...

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