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I Thought Words Meant Things

This month's rant is on the abuse of words and phrases.
"I saw a virtual office the other day."
Wouldn't that mean you saw an office? Not only saw an office, but REALLY saw one? But a virtual office, these days is really really not an office.
I looked up virtual. 'Being such in essence or effect though not formally not recognized or admitted {a virtual dictator.}' Hmm. Well, the computer geeks took this word and ran with it. A modern virtual office is x's and o's.
Speaking of computers, how about viral? For generations, it meant something like the definition: 'Of relating or caused by a virus.' Never a good thing. Now a baby with a chain saw chases the cat around the house. Dad, instead of removing the child, cat and saw one from another, videos the melee. Posts it on YouTube. It goes viral. Now that's supposed to be a good thing. Unless junior caught the cat.
How about the destruction of phrases? Among Christians, 'It's a God thing' is popular. Really? Almighty God, the creator of the universe, is an adjective, supporting a noun, the word 'thing'? Here's a definition of an adjective: 'a word imputing a characteristic to a noun or pronoun'. So God is a characteristic of a thing. Go ahead. Say, 'It's a God thing.' I'll stand back and watch for the lightning bolt. A popular phrase among young people is something like this. "Dating Trevor is a God thing." Two weeks later she breaks up with poor Trevor, and God apparently missed His shot. Now Dylan is a 'God thing.'
Okay. Drum roll, please. Now the worst, most abused phrase (with my humble apologies to God, delegating His phrase to second place):
Best friends forever.
I heard this very phrase the other day; "You're my new best friend forever."
Wait a minute.
That means you had an old best friend forever. Where did that one go? Hmm. Best. Forever.
According to the phrase, even death wouldn't stop the deal. Shoot, that's bigger than the marriage vow, 'Until death do us part.'
Seems to me, you say "You're my new best friend forever," and the universe would collapse in on itself.
Now that would be a God thing.


lelia said...

As a medical technologist, I have no problem with viral being used to denote the way viruses spread. Memes can spread as easily as Ebola.

God thing.....yeah.

Browse around... said...

Apparently, 'viral' means, 'spread fast', which is true. Like Mad cow disease (does it make them angry? that's another question!), it can sprad quickly. However, the disease, unlike the video or whatever, is not a good thing.