When Did “Interesting” Become a BAD Word?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Language changes. I get that.  Old words or usage fades away and new words become accepted. 

Think of all the new words or new meanings to old words that have come about over the last two decades: net, cell (meaning cell phone), Internet, Web, Website, ebook, blog, and text. These, as you know, relate mostly to technology.  One of the words, “texting,” has produced a whole new language in and of itself. 

Yet even the new abbreviated words in a texting dictionary have suffered confusion. For example, when you send LOL are you “laughing out loud” or sending “lots of love?” Folks still get those confused, sometimes with hilarious results. You have to grab the nearest teenager to interpret what is being said, emailed or texted.

Then there are phrases that when spoken mean the opposite of what the words say they should mean. Consider, no way, get out, hold the fort or yes way, or that’s so sick or so bad. No wonder folks trying to learn English have trouble.

That brings up the word that started all this – interesting. It’s interesting to me that when I moved to the South, suddenly things couldn't be “interesting” anymore. When a neighbor sent over a lovely dessert and I described it as “interesting,” she said, “Oh, so you didn't like it?” She took offense. I was flabbergasted. I meant no disrespect. I thought I was giving her a compliment. Her dessert was "interesting" as in different, unusual and unique. Her “interesting” dessert was also delicious. 

Just so you know, coming from me “interesting” is a good thing.  So, if you receive a critique from me and I say your new book was “interesting,” please know that I found your work to be something of importance or consequence that engendered curiosity on my part and made me take notice, like the dictionary says.

What words that have taken on a different connotation bother you? 


Gretchen Griffith said...

I remember the little man on Laugh-in that said, "Very interesting" with his own kind of accent thrown in. Maybe that's why I think of the word interesting as light and fun and, well, very interesting.
One word I'm having trouble adapting to is "bad" being good. Ugh!

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Hi! I’m Sandra Warren, a writer with very eclectic writing tastes. I’ve been fortunate to have publications in multiple genres including children’s, gifted education, parenting, how to, poetry, journal, educational activity guides and biography as well as audio and video production. I'm a city gal recently transplanted to the mountains of NC where glorious mountain vistas inspire latest renderings.

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