"Awesome" no longer hip, edgy

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

It is wholly subjective. It has lost meaning, and therefore, linguistic value. As did "hot" last year, it has become able to describe only its own amorphous set of standards and limitations.

Awesome is what the person says it is, and language, while subjective, is built only on shared definitions, syntaxes and anchors.

Claiming an object, concept or person is "awesome" is akin to labeling a pair of gym socks "Paul's." Awesome has become a label, and has lost all merit as a descriptor of content, characteristics or character.

This year, when it exploded into the popular lexicon, its uses have been many:

Ironic fascination:

Usage: "Yeah, I hadn't seen ThunderCats in ages, but my friend loaned me the DVDs. I must say, they're awesome."

Trans: "Wow, I like something that transcends my petty, self-righteous taste, so I'll use a word I don't normally use - one used among plebians."

Gleeful laziness:

Trans.: "Heck, this thing is beyond comprehension, so I'll use a word everyone has heard and seems to get."

Common noun:

Usage: "Dude,

Instead, try "spectacular."