Jul 15, 2005

No, it's not "awesome."

Though I have poked at it in a jesting manner in the past, I believe it is time I lay down a few serious words about the word "awesome" and my sincere thoughts on the excessive contemporary usage of it.

First, let me emphasise that I have nothing against the word "awesome" per se. In essence, it is a perfectly suitable word to describe something that is characterised by fearsome power or whose presence is greatly intimidating or capable of leaving one in awe. Then, there is the very unfortunate slang version of the word, which is basically used by the feeble-minded and ineloquent in speech and writing to describe everything that they find "great." Example:

"Did you hear the latest song by the awesome silent metal band Nightshush? The guitar solo was awesome, and so was the part of the spoken chorus that goes " " Words can't describe how awesome it is."

Even as a slang term, the word would not bother me nearly so much if so many people didn't use it to such a mind-numbing, nerve-grating excess. Considering all the beautiful, euphonious synonyms available, why not use one of those instead and at least distinguish yourself from the crowd in your verbal mannerisms? I mean, come on, take your pick:

magnificent
fabulous
marvelous
fantastic
sublime
glorious
excellent
incredible
smashing
splendorous
delightful
wonderful
splendid
fascinating
remarkable
superb
majestic
stupendous
outstanding
impressive
...and many more!

Why so many people insist on using the word "awesome" over and over again is beyond me... it's a horrible pandemic, and I cannot be the only one who notices it and so strongly disapproves of it. The only way it could get any worse than it already is is if it was somehow turned into a verb: "Oh yeah, you better not awesome me! I'm much too awesome to ever be awesomed!" Of course, I expect to be spurned for making mountains out of molehills, but in truth, I'm not just lashing out against everyone because of a silly little pet peeve I have--I'm fighting for the integrity of the English language, both in the present and the future. I almost feel the need to applaud anyone who uses such words as "fantastic" or "magnificent" in an exclamatory fashion. Rayg bless their souls. Of course, I'm aware that what I say doesn't amount to much and that I do not expect to be taken at all seriously, but at least it does me good to get this off my chest.

The language can sound quite splendorous when used tastefully, but certainly not when the word "awesome" is used 500 times in a day. To be fair, I wouldn't care much if one used the word occasionally, or just let it slip out now and then, but honestly... start expressing yourself like you're older than your shoe size, please.

2 comments:

Kinuki said...

Yay! Someone else agrees with me that anyone who can't figure out there's more than one way to describe something that is simply great instead of awe-inspiring should have a Thesaurus thrust into their hands until they're able to use words the way they were meant to be used.

Ah, so nice to know someone who uses the English language so well. :)

William said...

For me, it's just a bad habit. I'm trying though!