Friday, February 15, 2013

Got to Cerebrate It

I'm always on the alert for changes in our language since Sarah Palin, former half-governor of Alaska tried to explain her use of "refudiate" by saying that English is a living language.

It won't be living for much longer, with people misusing it and then comparing themselves to Shakespeare.  And to noted wordsmith Geo. W. Bush, who coined "misunderestimate" for us.

But my friend Jennifer Lantz pointed out that there is a divide between the younger generation and, well, the, uh, older generation, in terms of the word "swag."

For reasons best known to themselves (I called Chris Brown to ask, but got no answer) the younger set uses "swag" when they mean "swagger" or "sharp appearance.  As in, "He showed up for his first day on the job rocking a lot of swag."

For those of us who were speaking English before it "b came OK 2 rite n e damn way u wanna," the word "swag" refers to the proceeds of an operation, with a hint that the operation was not quite on the up-and-up (burglary, piracy, embezzlement, bags full of bribe money handed to Spiro Agnew when we was vice-president of the United States.)  Add to that the fact that crooks and pirates tend to swagger around when they talk, and you can see how the words are being conflated.

I mean confl8ed. Sorry. That's the 411. TTYT.

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