Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Words and meanings

Words and meanings….

I think it is interesting how words get their meanings.  For example: “crap” or “crapper.”  Sentences like “My finances have gone down the crapper.”  How did this type of meaning get attached to “crap” or “crapper?”  For those who do not know, the indoor toilet was invented by a Thomas Crapper (true!!).  We use names in place of adverbs all the time, i.e. “Going Postal.”  So, I was wondering what _IF_ Mr. Crapper designed something different, something that had a better meaning attached to it.  It would mean exactly the opposite of what it means now.  A compliment would be “Honey, you look like crap.”  “Why thank you, dear, it took me forever to find this dress.”

Same can be said for other words, words like: Gay, Fag/Faggot, and Queer.  How is it that these words now have a “bad” meaning associated with it?  “Gay” used to mean “Happy” or “cheerful” not Homosexual.  To say “I’m gay” or “I’m having a gay time” meant that you were happy or enjoying yourself.  “Queer” is almost the same.  “Queer” was another way of saying “different” or “strange.”  Read The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien and you will hear the word “queer” in this fashion. Another word that you’ll hear is “faggot.”  Look it up in a dictionary, “faggot” is a bundle of sticks.  When I was younger, I knew this but didn’t really understand it.  When I read The Lord of the Rings I realized that it’s a small torch type of bundle, like a bundle of matches used to start a fire, the “flaming faggot.”  Not too sure how “fag” came to be slang for a cigarette, but that’s what it was.

It’s interesting… what will the future hold for our words??



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