After my latest rant on abuse of our shared language, a friend suggested I did not like to see language evolve. But it happens. It’s something that can’t be helped. Most of the time it doesn’t matter. Sometimes it’s an improvement. Sometimes it’s not.
But I can sleep at night knowing that many—at least some—of the stupid words I rant about will end up on the trash heap of speech, discarded as the useless, even noxious, locutions they are.
Using only words extant during my lifetime, I offer some examples of this self-correction.
Time was, people who were “cool” (a word that was silly then and still is, but has demonstrated staying power) were ofttimes referred to as “cats.” If they were really cool, they were “hep” cats. No more. In the same vein, “groovy” has pretty much disappeared. And when was the last time you heard something cool referred to as “far out” or “bitchin’?” “Fab” had its day, which has long since passed. And we no longer say we “dig” things that are cool. An event or incident that was the opposite of cool was often called a “bummer.”
Clothes were once “threads” but now they are not. No longer are women “chicks” or “dames.” I haven’t heard police referred to as “fuzz” lately. And we have moved beyond all the silly CB radio-inspired lingo too expansive to chronicle here. To that I can only say, “10-4 good buddy. See you on the flip side. Keep your ears on.”