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Posts tagged ‘dictionary’

The art of language and definition change over time

Any writer must realize

when we try to define words, the definition of things tend to change over time. In fact, few people today may know what a given word we use on a daily basis might haven meant decades or even centuries ago. And the ones who do might potentially have a bit of an attitude when it comes to what we consider the “real” meaning of a word.

The truth is, there is no real meaning but just the meaning that the word was intended to convey at the time.

For example, while today one might use the word “girl” and a representation of a young female child. However, in centuries past, the term girl was used for a young person of either gender. That’s a big difference huh?

Some words change do to the influences of other languages and cultures while others adopt a new meaning due to the use of slang. No matter what the source of the change may be, the change itself can be quite interesting.

no dictionary

Here are some more fun examples:

Bad -

In many contexts it can mean negative or terrible while the slang of the last few decades has redefined it to also mean positive, good or outstanding.

Handsome -

Today this usually refers to a man who is attractive in appearance. However, in years past it referred to pleasant looking women.

Dude -

when used today, a dude tends to be a rather fun, lively or interesting guy. But with the earliest origination of the word, the term was one that depicted a pansy sort of man.

Interesting isn’t it?

What exactly makes something artistic?

What is art?

On the surface, it is a simple question. However, this simple question often receives a number of complex answers.

Sure, you can go to any dictionary for some sort of answer. However, even there you are likely to come up with several different definitions.

Does the amount of time put in or effort involved determine whether something is or is not art? A few other questions we can ask ourselves include:

Is it art if it involves creativity or imagination?

Does how it make you feel determine whether or not it is art?

Is the idea of self-expression essential to qualify something as art?

All in all, the questions and answers are seemingly endless. Perhaps it is much like the concept of beauty. As it has been said, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Maybe it’s just that simple – what is art is up to the individual and can be just as unique as each and every person.

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