The English language changes quickly and steadily. There is joy and hope in that. Impact was once just a noun, using it as a verb showed your ignorance. Now, hardly anyone remembers that. Impact is a verb, because every marketing expert promises to show you the impact of his (or her) expertise.
There is another kind of change. Just like fads in fashion, there are words that go in and out of fashion. Heidi Klum, had she been an editor, instead of supermodel and host of Project Runway, might say, “One day it’s in, and the next day, it’s out.”
The relatively new crop of words are wearing out. “Awesome” now means, “OK, I heard you.”
“Passionate” now means “my boss wants me to do this,” at work and “my latest hobby” at home.
“Branding” –formerly a complex marketing process of logo recognition and audience expansion through service and product introduction to a bigger audience now means, “putting our logo on stuff.”
I’m predicting a new word for popularity. I’ve started to hear it used–and I predict it will be the new fad word. Formerly used only among artists and museum administrators, a “curator” is the expert on a museum exhibition who chooses what will be included in the exhibition and what doesn’t quite make the mark. In other words, an expert. I predict that the same people who once told us to “edit” our wardrobe will now become “curators.”
“Expert,” “guru” and “genius” have come and gone and now are synonymous with “trying to pretend we care.” So, as ‘passionate’ was replaced with ‘obsessed, ‘ the terms for someone skilled, in the know, and possessed of good taste, or at least a good eye, will become “curator.” Watch for it.
–-Quinn McDonald is a writer, life- and creativity coach who teaches writing for business and pleasure. She follows word usage with great interest.