One Author's Life


Words Used Too Casually Lose Their Meaning

August 3, 2012

Words Used Too Casually Lose Their Meaning

A bad day at work is not a catastrophe. If your hair looks crappy it is not a crisis. Locking yourself out of your house is a nuisance or an annoyance, but it is not a disaster. This is what I call word inflation: Words that are so over-used that they lose their impact. We all do it - I know I do - and it's a bad habit. Did you notice how the survivors of the mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado struggled to find words to describe it? In part, that is because there are no words, but it is also because saying, "It was horrible," does not come close to what they want to say. How can it, when people use the word so lightly most of the time? Even worse, I think, are the political pundits who sling words around at one another, such as Holocaust, Nazi, and Socialist. Don't cheapen those words, please, by exploiting their meaning just to get attention or to make a point.