It seems we Americans say quite a few quick, handy words to express good and bad situations. We’ve all heard them much too often. I’m particularly tired of five words.
When we say “awesome,” we should be responding to something that commands respect and reverence: The universe is awesome. God is awesome. Saying “awesome” is a lazy, convenient word just to say great or wonderful: Everything that is great is awesome: “You brought home pizza. -Awesome!” “Justin Bieber is so awesome!” He is?
Let’s face a fact here, “awesome” is probably the most used word in American English. A few decades ago, I remember hearing: “Groovy”, “Cool”, “Far out!”, “Dig it!” I miss those expressions! So, it might be time to consider other words, such as: astonishing, overwhelming, wonderful, superb, magnificent, impressive, incredible and even, dreadful.
When a person is fed up and angry with what someone says, it’s “Whatever!” I usually hear this word spoken when I have said something that is irritating to another person. It means, “I don’t care what you said!” The word is the verbal equivalent to scraping nails across a blackboard; it’s probably the rudest thing you can say in polite conversation. Saying “Okay” or even, “Fine!” are more polite interjections.
“Hey dude?”, “Dude!” “Whatup, dude?” We hear this all the time when a male teen gets the attention of another male teen. It’s such a common way to get another guy’s attention that it seems every guy’s name is “Dude.” Some guys even call their girlfriends “Dude.” Shouldn’t they be “Dudettes?” When I was young, I said, “Hey, man!” “Man” used to be a more popular word and still is to a degree. I was so hung up on it I even said it when I talked with my mom. “I’m not ‘man,'” she replied.
“I totally agree with you that ‘totally’ is an overused word.” “Totally” means completely, exactly or absolutely. Do you understand these three meanings? -Totally!
“S’up?” is the abbreviated macho form of “What’s up?” that tough guys ask themselves. You can still say the long version: “What’s happening?” or “What’s going on?”
Overused words are not just rampant in conversation; the way we communicate on the Internet, particularly through Twitter or Facebook is by cutting words down to abbreviations or initials: LOL and OMG, among many others. I’m not used to a lot of jam-packed digital dialogue, especially on Twitter.
Awesome, whatever, dude, totally, s’up? I think if we could dust off our old thesauri, we could find other words to replace those I’ve collected. There are many others. Some are not so nice. Otherwise, we will continue using words that will forever be boring to hear.