Words Disappearing from the English Language

Every year we are treated to lists of new words that have sprung up in the English language, but we pay little attention to the vanishing words – the ones simply gone missing.  Here are words that seem to have disappeared from the language in the last half decade or so:

 1.  Center.  Nothing is the center of anything any more.  The word has been displaced by “epicenter” which actually used to mean something different – the place over, or on top of, or even near the center.  It used to be used mainly by earth scientists and weather reporters to describe the geographic area immediately over the center of an earthquake.  Now it appears to mean the really precise center.  And the word “center” itself is no more.

 2.  Problem.  The word now means only an arithmetic equation to solve.  Things that used to be problems are now “issues.”  Nobody has problems with their children or their bowels.  They have “issues” with their issues.  (That’s a joke, son.)  You know what?  Homeless people don’t have “issues.”  They actually have problems.

 3.  Me.  For being as self-centered as Americans are, you’d think we’d be able to use the word “me.”  No.  The objective case, which in English exists only for pronouns, is disappearing from the language.  Educated people say, “Give it to he and I.”  It’s just weird.  And worse, it hasn’t become only the subjective case (I) but also the reflexive (myself).  Equally educated people say, “Give it to myself.”  That is even weirder.  If possible.

 4.  Health.  Nobody is interested in health any more.  Now we have “wellness” which is not now, never has been and never will be a Real Word.  Call me a prescriptionist, but this one just doesn’t fly.

 5.  Use.  Never use a word when you can utilize it.

 6.  Get/Got.  Nothing is gotten any more.  It is always received.  Sometimes it is even received when it should have been something other than “gotten.”  She did not receive her diploma.  She earned it.

 7.  Give.  The word “gift” is a noun, not a verb.  (Shut up, all you tax accountants out there.  You know it’s jargon.)  You don’t “gift” something.  The something is a gift.

 8. Chain.  Nobody is anywhere on a chain of command any more.  We don’t command each other – we eat each other.  People are now somewhere on a food chain.  Even when it makes no sense.  Especially, it seems, when it makes no sense.

9. Wrote. When was the last time you heard that someone wrote a book or an article? I haven’t heard it in years. Now people “author” their written works. I don’t know when “author” became a verb, but apparently it is.

 I’m pretty sure there are more.  Feel free to comment with your additions.

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One Response to “Words Disappearing from the English Language”

  1. Rivka Says:

    I have never heard the eat thing before. Ever. That’s weird.

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