Milk and Cigarettes

Rambles about stuff I like.

Literally Hitler

There is nothing quite so aggravating as people misusing the word “literally.” I see this frequently online, where people don’t know the difference between figuratively and literally. The worst is when people accuse someone or something of being, “Literally Hitler.” There is one and only one context in which you can use the words, “Literally Hitler” – and that is if you’re talking about Adolph Hitler. That guy who cut in front of you in line at Dairy Queen? He is not “Literally Hitler.” 

The problem now, is that the misuse of the word has become so common, there’s now a movement (or vague murmurings) of letting “literally” mean figuratively. In fact, if you Google, “Literally” – the dictionary definition pops up, which contains two definitions: the first is the correct definition of the word. The second, is as follows:

used for emphasis or to express strong feeling while not being literally true.

This definition uses the word, “Literally” to describe the exact wrong meaning of the word!!! Look at that! It says, “Used for emphasis […] while not being literally true.” This description could easily be shortened to, “Speech which is not literally true.” And that’s the definition for “Literally”!!! I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!

This is an unbelievably depressing thing to witness. People are so stupid as to continually misuse this word, that they will add a definition which means the exact opposite of the word. It’s like if people kept getting the colour orange confused with the colour purple, so they defined purple to mean, “Purple, unless the speaker is using the word incorrectly, in which case it means orange.” 

Look, I get that English is a living language, and meanings of words get changed all the time to keep up with the vernacular. But there’s something very wrong when an alternate definition for “Literally” is, effectively, “Not literally.” 

Cheeeese and crackers!

What would happen if this became a trend? For example, flammable and inflammable mean the same thing. But “in” is often used to negate a word – so what if people starting using ‘inflammable’ to mean ‘not flammable’. And then people just kept misusing that word so often, that the dictionary would have to come up with two definitions. 

Inflammable – Noun – Meaning 1: Something which is flammable. Meaning 2: Something which is not flammable.

Because that’s what’s fucking happening with literally! Literally! Misuse is redefining the word to mean the exact opposite, which renders the word useless! Then you’ll end up with people saying, “I mean this for realz” instead of using literally as it was intended.

Christ. What a horrible, newspeak future we’re all being drawn into. Where literally doesn’t mean a thing. And anyone who does anything mildly offensive is, “Literally Hitler” – meaning, not literally Hitler. 

Guh. I should just learn Chinese and prepare for the eventual Red Dragon takeover. I’m sure their language makes much more sense. Especially when they can enforce standards with the barrel of a gun.

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May 25, 2014 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , ,

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