Words

Words. Have you noticed how some words have fallen into disuse? I have wondered why this happens...
Is it that the idea the word encapsulates no longer exists? Or the object is now obsolete. I am more focused on words that express intangibles such as honour and integrity, I'm sure many more such words are no longer in popular use.
Why is that I ask myself.

I humbly conjecture, words such as honour and integrity impress upon us the ideas of being selfless, honest, humble and free of excessive self interest. Is it that we consider these words to be counter productive to our image or that we find such ideas not suitable abhorrent almost! Suitable such as in, we dare not cloak ourselves in the propositions these words express for we will be found wanting.

Have you such words? Why do you think they no longer appeal to our sensibilities?

Thank You.
XIII
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Comments (5)

Cultural changes. I remember my first boss looking at me like I'm trash for using the word overtime. In the old days it was expected for anybody even remotely professional to do the job no matter how long it took. In his view only unskilled get paid overtime, overtime was for people who were not expected to have much sense of duty or honour. Today's bonus culture obviously flies in the face of that old-fashioned duty. The professional gets a bonus for doing his job with dedication where dedicated used to be synonymous with professional. It used to be a given that the professional would be dedicated part and parcel with the salary.

And here's a new word that reflects the bonus culture - flake.
A flake, named after the chocolate bar, is someone who always crumbles away.

What we can gleam from the bonus culture is that incentive has overridden the role of duty in society. We don't have an agreement, we have a relationship that must be continuously nurtured you can never be that sure.
And a couple of phrases I notice seem to mean rather different to what they did when I was a boy. Which is not even that long ago.

"He loves himself"

Today means that he takes care of himself and is capable of love for other people, when I was a boy it meant narcissist.

"Watch yourself like a hawk"

Today means the path to happiness, and when I was a boy it meant shitting in your pants like a little miss smarty queen.
Exactly why the old description for a tense, nervous and unhappy narcissist have now been rebadged as a good thing, almost the exact opposite thing, is anybody's guess. But my guess is the internet and business. English is the language of corporations and cyberspace.
Language is dynamic. Old words are replaced with new ones. Words change their meaning. New words are created. As long as a concept or an idea is still relevant, then there are going to be words to communicate it.

After all, our (humanity's) greatest assest may very well be our brain; however, our specialisation is communication (rather than tool making, abstract thought etc). In that way, we've networked our brains giving humanity a massive brain 7.8 billion strong.
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XyphexXIII

XyphexXIII

Stellenbosch, Western Cape, South Africa

I'm a pragmatic man,, I look for solutions that work to the benefit of all...not always possible, doesn't hurt to try though. I believe everyone has a contribution to make no matter how insignificant it may seem. [read more]

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created Sep 26
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