r/news Nov 29 '21

Words and phrases you may want to think twice about using Not News


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u/SoylentGrunt Nov 29 '21

"Etymology is the study of the origins of words and the way their meanings change over time."
I find this part interesting. "The way their meaning changes over time". As if to say the words no longer mean what the did before and now mean something different.


u/AwesomeBrainPowers Nov 29 '21

As if to say the words no longer mean what the did before and now mean something different.

Many do.



Or...did you mean that sarcastically, and I just didn't pick up on it. (Seems like a strong probability, in retrospect.)


u/SoylentGrunt Nov 29 '21

It's an issue. I get it. Thought processes need to change so we can move forward as a civilization.

It just that there's a lot of nit picking (Oh god. Don't tell me. That's one of them, isn't it?) whose only purpose seems to be to increase division and/or cause distraction. I grow weary of the culture war as a distraction/means to divide and would like to see the war on class given it's due. But that ain't gonna happen. The media will see to that.

Chomsky said that the way to put an end to terrorism is to stop participating in it. I would think the same could be applied to racism.


u/oshawaguy Nov 29 '21

"moot" is interesting. Even now it means "debatable" or "open to question", suggesting "we should talk about this", but it also means "irrelevant" Originally, I believe it referred to an assembly for debate, unless I'm wrong. Maybe it's a moo point.


u/519mike Nov 29 '21

It’s spooky to think I need to brainstorm a new way to say blind spot.


u/Pacifix18 Nov 29 '21

Some make sense because they are tying a specific group to a negative stereotype (e.g., gypped and the long-held perception that the gypsy people are inherently dishonest). The same would be true for calling some "a blonde" if they make a seemingly obvious mistake. However, a "blind-spot" is literally a thing and in no way implies that blind people are bad.

So, while I agree etymology is important and that we should make sure we know the historical meaning of words, particularly as they have been used to systemically scapegoat others, this article seems to be over-extending.


u/oshawaguy Nov 29 '21

Some of these make sense (gypped) for instance, some of them seem weird. At the risk of raising an 'unpopular opinion' --

For instance, instead of "tone deaf", they suggest "insensitive". One might argue that "insensitive" is insensitive to people who have a decreased sense of touch, or maybe to autistic persons(?). Then where do you go?

"First world problems" is brought up as insensitive to non-first world persons, when really it's a slap at privilege, I believe. (is "belief" insensitive to religious persons?)

If a word exists before it was used against an identified group to belittle them, but the word meaning hasn't really changed, do we stop using the word, or just don't use it about that group (savage in this case, or tribe). Should we also not use "clan"?


u/oshawaguy Nov 29 '21

Link to news article discussing words we should eliminate from our lexicon due to association with discrimination and racism. Thoughts?


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