Etymological fallacy

Status
Not open for further replies.

Tabac

Senior Member
U. S. - English
The term came up a few days ago, and I think it's worth a thread.

The original concern was whether or not "anniversary" can refer to something other than an annual event (two month anniversary).

That not withstanding, I'd like to hear from others who have noticed other terms that have taken on different meanings via evolution or etymological fallacy.

Here's one to begin with: "decimate". It originally meant to reduce by one-tenth.....now it means to nearly destroy.

I'm hoping for lots of examples, as it is a very interesting topic for me.
 
  • AWordLover

    Senior Member
    USA English
    In a course on the history of English I learned that it is a common trend for verbs to evolve from a strickly physical meaning to a more conceptual meaning.

    For example, the word apprehend originally only meant to physically grab, now other than grabbing criminals it mostly means to understand.
     

    Tabac

    Senior Member
    U. S. - English
    In a course on the history of English I learned that it is a common trend for verbs to evolve from a strickly physical meaning to a more conceptual meaning.

    For example, the word apprehend originally only meant to physically grab, now other than grabbing criminals it mostly means to understand.
    Probably not used as much as 'comprehend' in that meaning, I would guess.
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    [...]I'd like to hear from others who have noticed other terms that have taken on different meanings via evolution...
    I'm afraid that may concern thousands of words. As AWordLover pointed out, it seems to be a very common trend.
    ...or etymological fallacy.
    I suggest that we limit ourselves to this.

    I'm a bit...apprehensive...of how this thread is going to evolve. ;)
     

    curly

    Senior Member
    English - Ireland
    I've always found "got" interesting, I got milk meaning I have milk, but really meaning I found and put into my possesion, and as a result I have.

    Or maybe i'm not getting the idea...
     

    curly

    Senior Member
    English - Ireland
    My favourite is proof, prove and similar words. Prove now means to show clearly that something is true, but it was originally to test something.

    The exception proves the rule, and proof-read still keep the old sense though.
     

    river

    Senior Member
    U.S. English
    Myriad, from the Greek, originally meant "ten thousand" but has come to mean "a great number"/"a great number of."

    Parameters has come to mean "perimeters" - at least in some circles.

    Viable - "something able to live" - is often used to mean "workable."
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    There are far too many apparently erroneous and etymologies for this thread ever to come to a conclusion.
    Added to that, meanings change with time so that current usage may have no relationship with the original in any case.
    Multiply that by the propensity of those posting to indulge themselves in appalling puns.

    This thread is closed and will shortly be removed.

    Panjandrum
    (Moderator)
     
    Status
    Not open for further replies.
    < Previous | Next >
    Top