In my 2010 blog, “What does a referee do?” I concluded with: “Again it just shows that even when using familiar words, they don't always have the meaning that we are familiar with, do they? And so we need to be careful at all times that we both know what the other means when using otherwise familiar words, don’t we?
So, are there any other familiar words that you have always used that now, you find have other meanings. Sometimes with totally opposite applications, like with “Cleave”.”
At that point I had not heard of any other words but since then was reminded on how the understanding of the word “Gay” has changed.
This is what a friend wrote in response to my request for words whose meanings have changed: “Interesting. And so much of this is because of the way language is fluid, and words can take on new meanings over time, or can eventually change meaning totally. A current (sad) example is ‘gay’. To me it is sad that the word has gone from a meaning expressing joy (something clearly from God), to what it commonly means now (which is clearly not from God). Another one that comes to mind is ‘let’ in KJV let is used in the sense of hindering or holding back, whereas it has the opposite meaning of allow now.
Words are amazing – truly the gift of communication is one of the things that shows clearly how we are made in His image, who is, after all, The Word.”
Interesting comment and quite true how once any may would not hesitate to say he was gay in the first sense, but would hesitate now lest he be thought gay in the new sense of the word, unless he really was.
Well, that is his say, and He has given us two words whose common meanings have changed. One a long tome back, and another in my generation! What are some other words commonly used by you that have different meanings now? Again over to you for now.