Thursday, 12 March 2015

When did that happen?

When did the definition of "super" change to include the meaning of "extraordinarily or particularly" as in "that was super fun" or "that was super interesting"?  Does anyone know?

I am used to "super" in other contexts, but this one is beginning to drive me just a little potty as it seems to be cropping up more and more - and I have to admit that I don't really like it.  What is wrong with "very" in those sentences, or is "super" so much more than "very" or does "really" not even hit the mark?  It feels as if it might be a transatlantic import, as I have read it more often on US blogs, but I am interested to know where the usage has originated - I love language!

I was intrigued to learn a new word today on Frugal in Norfolk's blog: "chavel" - it was clear from the sentence that it means chopping or mashing something up, but I had to go and find out more about where that had come from - what a lovely word!  I think I might have to start using that - thanks :)


Connie S said...

I have no idea where it originated, but the word 'amazing' ranks right up there with 'super' as an adjective of exageration.... IMHO! :)

saraband said...

I've noticed two recent changes in everyday language: The use of "get" where I'd say "have", as in "Can I get a coffee" at the cafe counter, rather than "Can I have a coffee". Also, especially in radio interviews, people starting their sentence with "So ...", even when what they're saying isn't an explanation of what's gone before. What intrigues me is how these changes start!

Morgan said...


Connie - you're right - I do agree!

Saraband - Yes, "get" is getting to me, too [sorry, couldn't resist] and "so" has been annoying me for ages, just as "like" has been doing!

SusanM said...

The word 'gotten' drives me potty! I know that it's American but it never seems to sound right when it's used here.

While I was out shopping last week, a lady stopped to talk to me and said that she'd had a flu virus and was absolutely fushionless. I had to ask what that meant; apparently it's Doric for having no energy!

Morgan said...

No, SusanM - I hate "gotten" too!

Fushionless is a new one on me, too - sounds useful, though xx

Jackie said...

It's a hunch, but super-busy feels to me like it dates back to 'Friends' or thereabouts. Maybe it took a while to settle in.
Of course you can be uber busy or mega busy.
That would be while you are speaking with the colleague in the store, to ask if you can get a coffee.
Rather than talking to the shop assistant to ask if you can have a cup of coffee.

Gill - That British Woman said...

well no use in talking to me, as I use a mix of British and Canadian language now I have been no doubt no one can understand why I use certain words.

saraband said...

As I understand it, "gotten" is of British origin and the Oxford Dictionary traces its first use back to the 4th century.

SusanM said...

Saraband, that's really interesting. I assumed that 'gotten' was American because I'd rarely heard it used in Britain until fairly recently. I wonder if it was actually used in this country in the past? The origin of most words is fascinating and often surprising.