9 Chickweed Lane (8/26/10)

Sometimes words lose their meaning through overly generic use. “Awesome,” for example, was once used to describe moon landings and atomic bomb blasts. Today, it’s used to describe sports highlights and snappy, smart-ass comebacks. Twenty years ago, “irony” was used sparingly, in reference to the exact right thing happening at the exact wrong time. It had a narrow (and therefore useful) definition. Today, it’s used to describe things that are only slightly askew. (“I forgot to tie my shoes this morning. That’s ironic.”) Perhaps this is unavoidable. As today’s 9 Chickweed Lane points out, even an innocent expression like “aw” can get caught up in the meat grinder that is the English language.

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