Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Use of the Word "Historic"

Am I the only one who gets annoyed at the continuous, cliched use of the word "historic"?

The word is overused in every facet of life, from sports (i.e. the Cardinals Super Bowl run) to politics (Obama's inauguration).

What are the standards for the use of this word?

Isn't everything historic? Last night I was at Bogie's when they kicked a keg of Guinness. Guess who got the first one from the new barrel... HISTORIC!

According to Merriam-Webster's dictionary, "historic" is defined as:

: historic :
a: famous or important in history
b: having great and lasting importance
c: known or established in the past
d: dating from or preserved from a past time or culture

But when we use the word in the present, how do we know that it will be "famous or important in history" given that history is what occurs in the past? Another cliche is "witnessing history". Isn't whatever we see "witnessing history"? And why exactly is the Cardinals Super Bowl run "historic"? It doesn't fit into any of those definitions.

Why can't writers come up with another word?

[Ed. Note: I blame Joe Buck. I can just hear him saying it.]

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