The End of "Awesome"


This is long overdue. I hoped the problem would go away, but it only seems to be getting worse. It is a slow lingering drawn-out death. The word "awesome" used to mean something.

Causing or inducing an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, fear, etc., produced by that which is grand, sublime, extremely powerful, or the like.

It was a noble word that could only describe a few things with the force and power those entities deserved. The Grand Canyon manifests itself in my mind for some reason.

But now I cringe when I hear "awesome" tossed around like a nickel. So meaningless and overused. The word is completely depleted of any value used a multitude of times per day. I half-expect it from twenty-somethings because they don't really know better. But the cringe-worthiness is amplified by the thirty, forty, and even fifty-something male and female Valley Girl utterances in attempt to describe their Starbucks cup of coffee, or to give a mindless nod of acceptance over some mundane nothing. Just Stop! please.

I am no wordsmith- I will be the first to admit. And I will also confess to slinging around words sometimes distorting them for my own selfish purposes. But I truly appreciate and respect words. Their etymologies fascinate me.

So the tossing around of such a heavy word as "awesome" deeply disturbs me- and the frequency of its daily, overheard use all around me is leaving me frequently deeply disturbed. I do not hear other people ranting about this- so perhaps I am alone in this aversion.

I had to ask myself, "Why does it bother me so much?" and I have come up with a few reasons. Perhaps someone out there will read this and add some more, but here goes:

1) Herd Mentality. The overuse of this word by the sheep of society depresses me. Can't someone be a little more creative and reach a bit deeper. Stretch yourselves creatively. You can do it, I know you can!

2) No respect for the value of a good word. That is immoral. How can anyone in good conscience water down the meaning of a word? I know new words are being added to the dictionary each year, but I don't think that means we need to bastardize certain prize words into meaninglessness foreshadowing their nonexistence. There is plenty of room to keep the old, one is silver, the other gold....

3) This brings me to my final point. Whoever out there is choosing these words to corrupt- please choose carefully and do not select hundred dollar words. Pick on measly weak words and revamp them. Or better yet, make up your own words. I cannot take the torture and slow death of another sublime word in my lifetime.

Lastly, here is a concrete example of the morality issue at hand to ponder:

If promises are not kept, the word and concept becomes meaningless.