Originally created 11/06/02

Meanings of words always changing



Regarding Zameer Sheikh's Oct. 21 letter, "Chronicle misuse of 'jihad' contributes to misunderstanding": I would point out that the U.S. print media redefined the meaning of "jihad" to be "holy war" some months ago.

Meanings of words in the English language are constantly being redefined, especially by Americans. This practice is not necessarily wise or helpful, but is certainly widespread.

For example, in the last 40-50 years, the meaning of the word "gay" has been totally changed. No explanation needed there. And how about "bad"? A favorite entertainer is really "bad" - or has that usage already become obsolete?

And then there is "cool." If so many people are really "cool," why don't they put on more clothes or turn up the heat?

So, to paraphrase the words of Eliza Doolittle in her song to boyfriend Freddy when he professed his love "on the street where she lived":

"Words, words, words - just show me."

Raymond Hargrove, North Augusta, S.C.