Monday, April 20, 2009
Someone asked me if the last episode of Heroes: Fugitives airs tonight. I said no, it’s the penultimate.* (Simultaneously exciting and sad.) Naturally, my mind went on to the word ultimate. I next heard “The ultimate episode of Heroes.” My next thought - the return of a pet peeve of mine. Before I say specifically what the peeve is, know that I am also guilty. For it’s difficult to avoid.
All too often, a word like "ultimate" is not used correctly. “The Ultimate in Fine Dining!” Uh, no, it is not the final meal nor even the very last restaurant that you will ever come across. But it’s said anyway, trying to convey how terrific the meals taste. Uh, no, the meals are not terrific. They do not fill one with terror. Furthermore, how did terrific come to mean good? I suppose I can see it… a sudden jolt of startling goodness. Maybe?
I’ve touched on this idea before, both here and here.
Take notice of what words you and others use and when. What are we actually saying?
*One of my favorite words, and also one which people tend to use erroneously.