Monday, April 28, 2014

Egregious and the Mutating Definitions

Egregious is one of those words what, when you look at it, sure is pretty. It kind of rolls off the tongue. For that reason I thought it was a "good" word. In this case I mean of positive note.

Turns out I'm wrong. Turns out it basically means "flagrant" as in a flagrant disregard for the law.

However, once upon a time that wasn't the case. Once it meant to be outstanding among others, in a good sense of the word. It is, in other words, my favorite type of word. It's a word that has change along the way. Mutating words fascinate me. I like to contemplate why they changed and how they changed and what the results of that might be. VOLUMES have been written about the writing and rewriting and editing and cutting and reciting of the Bible over the years. Especially in light of the fact that the entire text was first a spoken series of first had tales and later transcribed by numerous sources and later still translated from different dialects and forced into Latin and later still translated into, well, bloody near every language on the planet. And the accuracy of those translations? And folks, I'm just talking about the NEW TESTAMENT. More books have been written about the editing of the Old Testament from the original source materials. Lots more.

Have you noticed how many sects there are to the Christian faith? That's because word's change. Their meanings can be vague. (Hell, as a writer I appreciate vagaries. They allow me so many opportunities to write with tongue firmly planted in cheek.)

Yeah. Mind you that's over the course of a couple of thousand years.

Go read some Shakespeare and then translate it into modern English. Done? Now go translate it again, using a proper dictionary that shows the definitions of all those words you weren't completely sure about.

No, I'm not actually suggesting you go through the effort. I'm just making a point. Words mutate. They always have and I suspect they always will for as long as there are people on the planet.

Somewhere along the way Egregious went from "Distinguished" or "Eminent" to "Outstandingly bad; glaring." And that in the course of only 400 years. And likely a lot less than that, actually. I haven;t the time to go back and research exactly when the change happened (and if you do, more power to you), but I still find it fascinating.

On the subject of Piers Anthony: I loved his stuff when I was younger. I did notice the connotations mentioned, but I was a guy and found absolutely nothing wrong with a little titilation. Ah, puberty: it makes swine of all men especially when they are reading books and no one knows. I still loved his books for the stories first, mind you. Even some of the tales that were far darker than the Chronicles of Xanth (and often far less bawdry).

On the subject of Jeffe's new book: I haven't finished THE MARK OF THE TALA yet, but I'm enjoying the heck out of it. More on that soon.

On my current work slate: I'm wrapping up my store for the SNAFU - An Anthology of Military Horror collection. For those who want to know, yes, it's a Jonathan Crowley story. It takes place in Arizona before that particular place became a state.

I am also working on THE SUBURBS OF HELL with my partner in crime-fiction, Charles R. Rutledge.  The ball is back in my court, and I'm about to shed some blood. I'll try to keep the writing from getting egregious. Heh, heh, heh.

So I'm out of here.

Keep smiling,

Jim







2 comments:

  1. heh heh heh - you said "titillation." :-p

    Yay on liking the book!!

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  2. I did indeed and I'd do it again! ;)

    ReplyDelete