A hope note
Three words currently perch atop my anathema list. Excellent words, they have been so overused in our day that their once excellent meaning has been lost. Whenever I hear one of them, those around me hear an involuntary groan.
One is AWESOME! I once heard a minister use it in a sermon more than a dozen times (I quit counting at 12), referring to everything from God to a movie to a super-sized portion of fast food. When everything is awesome, nothing is awesome.
A second is AMAZING! I heard an interview with Katie Holmes when she used the word at least five times in less than two minutes to describe Tom Cruise. When everything is amazing, nothing is amazing. And the speaker exposes a limited vocabulary.
Triggering my loudest groan is ABSOLUTELY! It has insidiously in our time replaced simple ‘yes.’ How many times those who have been caught lying peppered their case with this word. It’s as if a school of lying trained them: When telling a small lie, raise your voice; a big lie, wave your hands and pound on the table; a whopper, say with feeling, ‘ABSOLUTELY!’ Whatever happened to simple ‘yes’ and ‘no?’
Superlatives should be saved for rare and extraordinary occasions, like observing the formation of a new galaxy 13 billion light years ago courtesy of the Hubble telescope or experiencing a red dawn from the southeastern rim of the Grand Canyon.
My favorite word for several years has been MAGNANIMOUS. From two Latin words, magna meaning great and animus meaning spirit, magnanimity is about having a big-hearted attitude that extends us beyond our little, narrow, selfish pursuits, and cares for the human race as a whole and the planet as a whole.
I’ll try not to overuse my favorite word.