Merriam-Webster Responded To A Viral Neil DeGrasse Tyson Tweet About The Word ‘Awesome’ & Their Clapback Was Pretty, Uh, Awesome
OK, I will admit that I have overused the word "awesome" since childhood — so much so that it's a running joke in my family. Well, one person has finally had enough of everything being awesome. Merriam-Webster responded to a viral Neil DeGrasse Tyson's tweet about the word "awesome" and their clapback from Merriam-Webster was pretty, uh, awesome. I actually interviewed Neil DeGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist and host of the documentary Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, a few years ago, and it was, for lack of a better word, awesome. Apparently, Tyson thinks "awesome" is a word that should be used sparingly so its meaning is not cheapened, and he took to Twitter to express his frustration about kids these days.
"In my day, the word “Awesome" was reserved for things like curing Polio and walking on the Moon, not for food or TV shows," he tweeted April 12. While curing polio is awesome, so is avocado toast, Lady Gaga, and peanut butter and pickle sandwiches. Like beauty, awesome is subjective, and is in the eye of the beholder. Merriam-Webster responded to Tyson's awesome tirade with one word. "Neil." And, an awesome amount of twitter users thought their stern clapback was pretty freakin' awesome. According to the definition of the informal use of the word awesome in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, it means "terrific, extraordinary." As in I "had an awesome time at the concert." And, these awesome tweets responding to Tyson are pretty extra.
4Language Is Constantly Evolving
Hey, the meaning of words can evolve over time. Like sick, which means not feeling well, gross, and — you guessed it — awesome. For example: Mom, I feel sick today. Dude, you have a sick mind. Wow, your pad is so sick! "Generation by generation, pronunciations evolve, new words are borrowed or invented, the meaning of old words drifts, and morphology develops or decays," the University of Pennsylvania's Linguistics 001 course explained in its description. Yes, there is a class where you can learn why it's OK to say awesome.
5Case In Point ...
For example: That Lady Gaga concert was far out. No, it did not take place on Mars, grandpa. I'm trying to tell you that it was awesome. "Words don’t enter our language fully formed or in their final state. The sense of the word itself evolves over time, changing our understanding and perception of a term. An example of this is the label 'nerd.' Once a derogatory term used to insult those who were secluded, socially awkward or an outsider, today it has become a badge of honor," Language Wire noted on its website.
"Nerdism today means 'reliable expertise,' which represents a paradigm shift in the age of information. This change is partly due to the economic successes of Silicon Valley pioneers such as Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, whose companies today generate billions and hold more knowledge about our everyday lives than ever before. And if knowledge is power, the nerd has become king." Yes, being a nerd is totally awesome.