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Are words becoming meaningless?

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  • Are words becoming meaningless?

    I have held this in for a number of years. I need to vent my feelings and you all just happen to be in the way, for that I apologize ahead of time.
    There are certain words that through years of use/abuse have lost their meaning in my opinion. There are a few but now I'll deal with one:
    Heroes, In particular CNN Heroes. The nominees always surprise me. A teacher that teaches her classes in a remarkable way, A community organizer who opens a community center for disadvantaged kids???? The teacher would have received a "Teacher of the year award" years ago. The community organizer would have received a "Good citizenship award" for their efforts.
    My understanding of the word "Hero" is someone who puts their life in harms way to save the life of another person. A man dove into the frozen Patomic river after a plane crashed into a bridge, a passer-by climbed into a burning van to rescue a child. These, to me, are Heroes. Lets not forget our men and women in uniform who do heroic things on a daily basis.
    I apologize for being so winded but at 67 I can excuse it. There are other words/statements that I have issue with but I'll hold off til another time.

    Tim (now I'm the picky person I was afraid I'd grow up to be!)

  • #2
    Re: Are words becoming meaningless?

    Different word or group of words...

    "I could care less" when the speaker really means "I could NOT care less."

    Only 62 but a fogey none the less!


    • #3
      Re: Are words becoming meaningless?

      I wont deny, some words are overused, for me it's the word super. Usage generally indicates the speaker has engaged their mouth with out engaging their brain.

      I think hero can be defined a bit more broadly. A hero is someone to look up to, someone you might strive to be like. My dad was my hero- held it all together through the years, honored his promises and always did the best he could with what he had.
      Buffalo Bif


      • #4
        Re: Are words becoming meaningless?

        doc I would have to agree it seems that we are in the midst of hero worship and while there are some very brave, generous souls out there I too reject the idea that everyone is a hero. My old chief used to say I aint rewarding someone for doing their job and maybe that is too far on the other side, but a dose of reality is a good thing.


        • #5
          Re: Are words becoming meaningless?

          I agree that words are overused to the point of meaningless, and I agree with your assessment of the word hero. Also, how about giving hero status to all "first responders" and military even if they have never done anything heroic? I was military, and wasn't a hero, I never even left the US or served during a real war...I guess just getting a paycheck for having a certain job is now heroic. And everything is now historic..what is with that? It's kinda like kids getting a trophy for being on a team that plays a game..means nothing anymore. And the one that really chaps me is flying our flag at half mast for every little is supposed to mean something. They even flew it at half mast for the funeral of Nelson Mandela, who while a great man, wasn't even a American. List my name in the grumpy old man column also.


          • #6
            Re: Are words becoming meaningless?

            Originally posted by Buffalo Bif View Post
            ... A hero is someone to look up to, someone you might strive to be like. My dad was my hero- held it all together through the years, honored his promises and always did the best he could with what he had.
            We used to call this role model. And I still think that is a more fitting term. Grumpy old woman here.


            • #7
              Re: Are words becoming meaningless?

              noun: hero

              a person, typically a man, who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.

              All these darn " Do Gooders" that are admired by many, have outstanding achievements and noble qualities being labeled a "Hero", Outrageous!... or is it?

              Many Heros in different forms walk this earth. More acknowledgement to these people the better. The Less acknowledgement to the evils in the world the better.


              • #8
                Re: Are words becoming meaningless?

                The words that bother me are "absolutely" or "exactly" when used to express agreement with a statement that is only opinion.


                • #9
                  Re: Are words becoming meaningless?

                  Nope, I happen to agree with you, wholeheartedly. I believe there is a certain faction in this country trying to change things as we know it. One thing is for sure, carving is still carving!


                  • #10
                    Re: Are words becoming meaningless?

                    HOPE THIS MAKES YOU SMILE

                    Well, it's **** ... that's right, ****!
                    **** may just be the most functional word in the English language.

                    You can smoke ****, buy ****, sell ****, lose ****, find ****, forget ****, and tell others to eat ****.

                    Some people know their ****, while others can't tell the difference between **** and shineola.

                    There are lucky ****s, dumb ****s, and crazy ****s. There is bull ****, horse ****, and chicken ****.
                    You can throw ****, sling ****, catch ****, shoot the ****, or duck when the **** hits the fan.

                    You can give a **** or serve **** on a shingle.

                    You can find yourself in deep **** or be happier than a pig in ****.

                    Some days are colder than ****, some days are hotter than ****, and some days are just plain *****y.

                    Some music sounds like ****, things can look like ****, and there are times when you feel like ****.

                    You can have too much ****, not enough ****, the right ****, the wrong **** or a lot of weird ****.

                    You can carry ****, have a mountain of ****, or find yourself up **** creek without a paddle.

                    Sometimes everything you touch turns to **** and other times you fall in a bucket of **** and come out smelling like a rose.

                    When you stop to consider all the facts, it's the basic building block of the English language.

                    And remember, once you know your ****, you don't need to know anything else!!

                    You could pass this along, if you give a ****; or not do so if you don't give a ****!

                    Well, ****, it's time for me to go. Just wanted you to know that I do give a **** and hope you had a nice day, without a bunch of ****. But, if you happened to catch a load of **** from some ****-head...........

                    Well, **** Happens!!!
                    My ETSY shop:


                    • #11
                      Re: Are words becoming meaningless?

                      My friends..... In my humble opinion the real heroes are those that never made it home and are now resting in various locations throughout the world like Arlington, Flanders Field in Belgium, Ardennes American Cemetery in France and the Manila American Cemetery in the Philippines. Anyone who serves, military, para-military, police, or first responder "gives some, but those who lie in rest, gave all!" That to me is the definition of a real hero.


                      • #12
                        Re: Are words becoming meaningless?

                        I agree.....I was in the Navy, off the coast of Vietnam, we were sending planes in to support the troops..was I a hero...NO...but the 7 people we lost on that cruise WERE heros...I was also a police officer for a number of years...was I a hero....NO...only to that mother that I brought her little one home to....I agree..but there are lots of heros out there. The VFW has short videos of Medal of Honor winners...(didn't win them...they EARNED them) Those are Heros and the things they did, amaze me...great men like that need to be remembered!
                        "Lif iz lik a box "o" choc lets, ya nevr kno whut yull git!"


                        • #13
                          Re: Are words becoming meaningless?

                          Language has a tendancy to change. Meanings change or become more varied, pronunciations change, some words might lose their affect, while others become more prominent. It is just the nature of the beast.

                          Words have not become meaningless. Careful use of words can destroy, comfort, or heal others. Some words may have changed meaning, but context makes all the difference.

                          Eddy and High-Ho make the point perfectly. Hero, as used by them, is used to describe a specific type, a Military Hero.


                          • #14
                            Re: Are words becoming meaningless?

                            In my opinion, the most ridiculous words ever spoken was the mantra we chanted as children;

                            Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me!

                            and the most accurate;

                            The pen is mightier than the sword!

                            Civilization is defined as, a relatively high level of cultural and technological development; specifically : the stage of cultural development at which writing and the keeping of written records is attained.

                            Words are not becoming meaningless; but, as many here note ─ meanings do change. It seems that youth inevitably attempt to communicate among themselves with word meanings and pronunciations that, hopefully, exclude the preceding generation. This seems to be the primary source of evolving meaning.

                            Regardless of the source, we should all be cognizant of the warning Nateaaron noted in his post; "Careful use of words can destroy, comfort, or heal others". A perfect demonstration of the power of word evolution is the recent change of meaning for the word, "flaming". We should also remember the exhortation of the Christmas Carol, "Let us all be gay".

                            Those of us who have been around long enough to remember the previous meaning may lament the change in definition; however, we must remember that the act of communicating is based on the mutual understanding of words.


                            • #15
                              Re: Are words becoming meaningless?

                              this thread really has me thinking, so excuse my humble brain. I am thinking that "hero" is typically used to convey some form of worship for the support of a political agenda and connected to war and violence of some sort. I agree with eddy, the real heros never came back. And then of course there is the matter of those crippled with these horrific injuries we see daily in the new.
                              I keep however thinking of a guy name Horst Wessel, he was the darling of the Nazi party and a martyr and hero they even wrote a stirring song about him and sang it at all the Nazi gatherings. The real truth was he was a violent thug who died after being shot bv his landlord for becoming violent after he couldn't pay his rent.
                              And then of course we have the Waffen SS, the supreme perfect men who were in actuality the largest, most efficient, and diabolical criminal enterprise ever conceived.

                              I guess Im just a jaded old cop but when someone tells me I have to honor this and that and respect whatever and think a certain way I think of the old police saying, "question everything, demand proof and consult a attorney."
                              And before you launch into me for being unpatriotic and un American and all that jive, I did my thing as a 18 yr old Marine in a sand beach called Chu Lai in 1966. Ever hear of it? and no I aint no hero, just a was a scared kid who didn't realize what he was getting himself into.
                              peace out.