This post was written by my mom, Vicky, enjoy!
Don’t kids amaze you with the things they say? During one of their Florida visits with us, my daughter Jaime’s family and I were making plans for the day. James, then almost five, chimed-in with a new vocabulary word: “perhaps”. We adults were tickled. Without having defined it, James had used “perhaps” correctly, much to our delight. Little ones constantly pick up words and their meanings from context without their parents even realizing it. We soon learn that we need to be careful about what we say.
At the end of each year, the American Dialectic Society and dictionary publishers take surveys on the “word of the year” (WOTY) including the most overused words or wrongly used words. It is fun to hear their lists, but I keep my own. At the top of my list for the most misused word is: “awesome”. Pay attention for a couple of days—and, keep paper and pencil handy. You will need it to keep score. I am certain you will hear awesome applied to everything from a child’s drawing to interior decorating to sports achievements to lunch.
Does anybody know what awesome really means? Thankfully, Merriam-Webster does:
1 : an emotion variously combining dread, veneration, and wonder that is inspired by authority or by the sacred or sublime 2 a : dread, terror b : the power to inspire dread
Are you surprised? If awesome is part of your daily vocabulary, do you use it correctly? Or maybe you wonder does it matter? I say “yes”--because the little ones are listening.
Before it became the most overused compliment of American English, this word was chiefly found in the Bible where awesome appears 34 times and awe appears 16 times. A few passages help us with context:
Do not be terrified by them, for the LORD your God,