The Princess Bride was my favorite movie as a child, and remains my favorite movie today. I watched it over the long Columbus Day weekend with a few friends and we quoted the whole entire movie line by line, verse by verse and knew it perfectly because we have watched it so often. One of the phrases we knew so well was a man named Vizzini’s most famous catch phrase, “Inconceivable!” He uses the word often to describe instances that occur in the movie which are difficult to believe, such as how a thin, skinny guy is able to climb up a 600 foot cliff, how the same man is able to defeat the greatest fencer of all time, and how he escaped strangling from a large man named Fezzik. During one of these “Inconceivable!” moments, one of Vizzini’s comrades says, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means,” stating that Vizzini is over-exaggerating using the word “inconceivable” to describe instances that truly can be conceivable. As teens and adults in this world today, we also use words too often that are we do not know what they truly mean. We say these words for the lack of discovering a better way to put it, because we as humans are too lazy to think of the literal terms for things. I think we should cut back on these certain words that we use and put them to better use rather than throw them away on over-exaggerations.
One of the words that I know as teenagers use far too often is the word “awkward”. I know I use it way too often to describe something odd, strange, or out of place. I hear it all the time in the hallways or in the classroom to describe something that is weird. But is that really what the term “awkward” means? According to dictionary.com, the term “awkward” means clumsy, not graceful, not very socially trained. “Awkward” in those terms would be something along the lines of, “Oh, look at that awkward girl, she tripped on her own foot when she walked up the stairs” or “Mr. Darcy looked awkwardly at Elizabeth for he admired her beauty but did not know how to say so aloud.” Nowadays, though, “awkward” is a term to describe a silent hush amongst a group of people. It’s no longer just a silence: it’s an “awkward” silence, because, according to today’s society, it’s unacceptable to have a brief pause for people to collect their thoughts between conversations. It shouldn’t be described as “awkward” because that’s not the correct term for it. People should have a right to collect their thoughts without the thought-silence being labeled as “awkward.” Also, it’s not necessarily “clumsy” to have a silence. “Awkward” is an overused term for this and other situations. It deserves to be used correctly.
Another term we use too often and way too over-exaggeratingly is “awesome.” “Awesome” is a good word, don’t get me wrong, I just believe that it got its glory taken away. “Awesome” sounds like a powerful, glorious word high on the social status of “great” words. Then you add it into a conversation like: “How was your weekend?” “It was awesome.” “What did you do that made it so awesome?” “I don’t know, I played video games. It was awesome.” Isn’t that depressing? That makes me just sad. The dictionary.com definition of awesome is “inspiring awe”. An example of something that would inspire awe is: “The Hallelujah Chorus sounds as if a thousand angels have descended from a celestial throne of heaven and graced this earth just to sing this tune! It’s so awesome!” That is how “awesome” should be used. “Awesome” needs to regain the glory which we have stolen and have given it to something much less awesome.
When we as humans overuse words to describe situations and things that are much less than the actual term, such as “awkward” and “awesome” to describe things that are “strange” and “sort-of-interesting”, it steals the meanings and glory away from those words. Humans are lazy and do not want to look up the actual meanings of the terms to use the correct ones, because everyone uses them nowadays. It’s a natural part of human nature to use these and other words freely despite their actual meanings. If we all still communicate easily, we shouldn’t bother correcting ourselves to what is grammatically correct because we’re all on the same page. Some may say that we shouldn’t care about the true meanings of these words, just as long as we get the point across when we speak. That is wrong: words deserve the respect to be treated to their original definitions.
“Awkward,” “awesome,” and other terms are words that need fair treatment to reign in the glory of their definitions. We as humans need to use the words to their full truths: no exaggerations, no overuse, no making up definitions for words as we go along. We have so many words in the English language. We should know better and more fitted words to say what we need to say. We need to put a stop to the “Inconceivable!” moments of false definitions and over-exaggerations.