Need help with the history of a word...

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jason Quillen, Oct 26, 2002.

  1. Jason Quillen

    Jason Quillen Supporting Actor

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    Hey guys,
    I'm in a 400 level History seminar called "Murder and Madness in the 19th Century" this semester. Our assignment for this week is to research the history of a word. This can be any word we want, just as long as its meaning has changed over time. The only word we cannot use for this paper is "gay" because the teacher says if she allows it, everyone will do there paper on it as it has changed so much. So I'm looking for suggestions here - ANY word that has changed over time, for a 2 page paper for this class. Any help you all could offer would be appreciated.
    Thanks,
    JQ
     
  2. Rex Bachmann

    Rex Bachmann Screenwriter

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    Jason Quillen wrote:


    Quote:



    I'm looking for suggestions here - ANY word that has changed over time, for a 2 page paper for this class.






    The secret is to find a word that hasn't changed in meaning, pronunciation, usage, etc. over time. They all have, if you look far back enough over their histories.

    It would help if you gave some idea of the relevance the paper is supposed to have to the titular topic of the course "Murder and Madness in the 19th Century".

    Anyway, pick 'em:

    grass
    crash
    finger (verb)
    moon (verb)
    blow
    down
    dog
    flaky
    hot
    crack
    make


    P.S.: Oh, if gay is forbidden, you could try queer. Goes with German quer.
     
  3. Jim_F

    Jim_F Screenwriter

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    In the spirit of Halloween:
    evil and
    monster
     
  4. Jason Quillen

    Jason Quillen Supporting Actor

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  5. Darren Davis

    Darren Davis Stunt Coordinator

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    how about dumb? www.dictionary.com has a neat little write-up on the word that should serve as a good starting point.
     
  6. HienN

    HienN Stunt Coordinator

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    I suggest bad
     
  7. ace peterson

    ace peterson Second Unit

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    How about Heavy. In the spirit of Back to the Future.
     
  8. Jason Quillen

    Jason Quillen Supporting Actor

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    Alright guys, I'm heading to the library now to dive into the Oxford English Dictionary for a while. I've written everyones suggestions down and I'll check them all out. Thanks a lot for the help and I'll let you all know what I end up using and how the paper comes out.
    (Ace - as a big Back to the Future fan I really like that suggestion)
    Thanks again for your help,
    JQ
     
  9. andrew markworthy

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    Try to find a copy of a book called Keywords by Raymond Williams (I don't know if got an American printing, but it was reasonably widely available in the UK a few years ago), which goes through the history of various often-used words.

    Alternatively, try the *full* Oxford English Dictionary, which will give a history of the changing meanings of aword, usually with quotations to illustrate this.

    A couple of sugestions:

    nice

    hello.

    Both have had quite surprising changes of meaning.
     
  10. Adil M

    Adil M Supporting Actor

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    How about "fag?"
    It's had some interesting changes over the times.
    I am serious and not being an idot.
     
  11. Jeff Braddock

    Jeff Braddock Second Unit

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    conversation
     
  12. KyleK

    KyleK Second Unit

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    Faggot - used to mean bundle of wood
    Molest - used to just mean "bother"
    Hope that helps...
    Kyle[​IMG]
     
  13. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    How about ..... Cool.
     
  14. Lee L

    Lee L Supporting Actor

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    I actually wrote a short paper about the word Faggot in a college english class as well. Interesting history some words have.
     
  15. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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  16. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    It's also the Italian word for "bassoon". Check an orchestral score.
     

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