Unique No Longer Means Unique

Discussion in 'Evolution of Language' started by Tom Locke, Jun 17, 2015.

  1. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
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    Or at least, that's how it appears these days.

    On the BBC, I heard an art expert discussing a valuable vase. He described it as "unique, one of only eight in existence." Er, excuse me?

    Or another discussion on the radio. Somebody was informing us that something was "relatively unique." So, we now have degrees of uniqueness?

    I resisted the temptation to fling my radio out of the window and went to lie down instead.
     
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  2. Corie Henson

    Corie Henson Very Well-Known Member
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    I have also noticed the changes of usage in some words. With unique, yes, I had encountered that which is now to mean not common. But that modification in the meaning is still all right with me. What's not okay is in giving the word a much different meaning, worse it becomes the meaning of the exact opposite.

    SALVAGE. How do you understand it? Something or someone in a dire situation that can still be saved. Am I right on my rough definition of the words? Here's news for you. In our country, the word salvage means rubout or to kill because dead men tell no tales. Can you agree to that? But the media had floated that idea sometime in the 1980s so now you have to be careful in using that word because it is tantamount to murder. You can normally read the word Salvage in news reports when a dead criminal is found... purportedly salvaged by the cops.
     
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  3. Avigail David

    Avigail David Well-Known Member
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    These gaffes or Freudian slips trigger headaches, don't they? Common blunders leave us amused with chuckles. Consequently, there cannot be degrees of uniqueness: either something is unique-- one of a kind, or it is not.

    I might be making the same mistakes. I hope I'm not.
     
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  4. Jennifer Graves

    Jennifer Graves Active Member
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    It should go into the file "wtf is wrong with you people?"

    Like "literally"
    They changed the definition to a word that had no room for error... Literally!

    Like unique, again, no wiggle room there. Literally! And neither of these examples are unique.
     
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  5. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
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    Yes, this was phenomenal...people are misusing the word literally all the time, so let's change the definition.

    One of my favourites from recent years (from a football commentator): "Arjen Robben was literally on fire."

    Ouch.
     
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  6. Sheldon Scott

    Sheldon Scott Very Well-Known Member
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    My item is literally uniquer than your item. Of course the two they have downtown are the most uniquest I've ever seen.
     
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  7. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    Given the poor quality of our educational system, those who have any desire to sound intelligent take their queues from the media, and the media doesn't do a very good job of it. Frequently, I hear the word "unique" used incorrectly or overused, which is simply another way of using it incorrectly, when they describe something that someone has done as being unique when I know of several other people who have done the same thing.
     
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  8. Jennifer Graves

    Jennifer Graves Active Member
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    When I cot my son doin deed things I wanted to cry. All he could say was "Wut?"
    I know how badly auto correct can mess up what you're trying to say. But sometimes you can tell its just ignorance of the English language. I don't understand how they made it through school without knowing any of the basic English language.
     
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  9. Carlota Clemens

    Carlota Clemens Well-Known Member
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    While it's comprehensible the meaning or spelling of words may change overtime, what seems inadmissible to me is that shorthand-way to express and distorts words, no matter how colloquial is the setting you can use them, nor texting is a excuse for such a language usage.
     
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  10. John Donovan

    John Donovan Active Member
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    "Unique" is such a strange word nowadays. In this day and age, nothing, apart from live beings, is truly unique. Technology takes care of that - it's really easy to counterfeit and copy everything with the tools we have created in the last century, and the ones that we are still creating.
     
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  11. Diane Lane

    Diane Lane Very Well-Known Member
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    When I read the title of this thread, I scooted over here to rant about the rampant misuse of the word literally, only to find I'm late to the party ;). Legit, I feel gypped. <---something my nieces would say.
     
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  12. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    How do you catch a unique rabbit?.......unique up on it!;)
     
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  13. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
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    Another word that gets both overused and misused is 'basically'. I used to work with a woman who used it in just about every sentence and would say things like, "Basically, I'm sitting at my desk". She was quite a fearsome type, so I never had the courage to ask how one sat at a desk basically.
     
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  14. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    Basically.....
    [​IMG]
     
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