Many words get “redefined” these days. Picked up and used in ways which, historically, make no sense. Some are niche, others become more common.
For instance, remember when something being “bad” meant it was good? And that a skateboard trick being “sick” doesn’t mean it need to see a doctor?
Then there’s the word “awesome” which I am guilty of (over-)using. Specifically, it’s got quite a narrow range of meaning. The Oxford Dictionaries define it as:
extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring awe:
the awesome power of the atomic bomb
In the last couple of years, they’ve added:
informal extremely good; excellent:
the band is truly awesome!
Why do I bring this up? Well, today is my youngest daughter’s first birthday. A whole year surviving in our household is no mean feat, especially as you get older and start annoying the adults more and more…
But what I want to get over is that she is awesome. And I don’t mean she’s simply extremely good, or excellent. Alestorm are extremely good, or excellent. Niamh inspires awe. She is utterly, wonderfully, jaw-droppingly amazing.
How on earth I managed to have something to do with the creation of something so mind-bendingly incredible is beyond me. That is awesome.
How she grew from something the size of a pin-head to a huge lump of flesh and bone which can now toddle, smile cheekily, dance to Airbourne, open toilet lids and feed the dog from his own bowl (the bits that she doesn’t steal for herself)… that is awesome.
And we have two others – one voted the top pupil in her year by her peers recently; the other getting a perfect incident-free report from nursery for two years, who’s become addicted to libraries and about to move to “proper” school. They’re awesome, too. Not just excellent – they inspire awe.
So if you have kids, I really hope that every day you spare a little thought for how ridiculously, incredibly, incalculably unlikely it is that two cells each became those things you spend half your time wishing would just shut the hell up.
And if that’s not something to inspire awe, I don’t know what is.