On “Literally”


I’m wrong because people have been misusing the word for a couple of hundred years instead of a couple of years? 

No, NOT misusing but using one of the established meanings of the word.

By the late 17th century, though, literally was being used as an intensifier for true statements. The Oxford English Dictionary cites Dryden and Pope for this sense; Jane Austen, in Sanditon, wrote of a stormy night that, “We had been literally rocked in our bed.” In these examples, literally is used for the sake of emphasis alone. Eventually, though, literally began to be used to intensify statements that were themselves figurative or metaphorical. The earliest examples I know of are from the late 18th century, and though there are examples throughout the 19th century—often in prominent works; to my earlier examples could be added choice quotations from James Fenimore Cooper, Thackeray, Dickens, and Thoreau, among many others—no one seems to have objected to the usage until the early 20th century.


It goes on to explain some grief over not misuse, but ABUSE of one of the actual understood (!) meanings of “literally” and then classifies the word with several similar ones meaning two opposite things:

There are many such words, and they arise through various means. Called “Janus words,” “contranyms,” or “auto-antonyms,”

And how, for some reason, people never criticize “really” when it’s often used the same two ways as “literally”

and of course examples are always fun:

such “abuses” have a long and esteemed history in English. The ground was not especially sticky in Little Women when Louisa May Alcott wrote that “the land literally flowed with milk and honey,”nor was Tom Sawyer turning somersaults on piles of money when Twain described him as “literally rolling in wealth,” nor was Jay Gatsby shining when Fitzgerald wrote that “he literally glowed,” nor were Bach and Beethoven squeezed into a fedora when Joyce wrote in Ulysses that a Mozart piece was “the acme of first class music as such, literally knocking everything else into a cocked hat.” Such examples are easily come by, even in the works of the authors we are often told to emulate.

Please do click and read and come. the fuck. off it. so that yknow, let’s lay this debate to rest finally and all you strict grammar whiners can go cry about something else that makes you feel superior I guess.

onefootinthegrave asked:

has anyone in your dojo ever said "everybody have fun tonight, everybody wing tsun tonight?"

yes. it has happened. As has the references to “kung fu fighting”. Inevitable, I guess. Here’s a good one: So Wing Tsun means “Praise Spring” but a lot of people mistranslate it or think it means “Eternal Spring”… Eternal Spring WOULD be “WANG Tsun” …. THE MORE YOU KNOW.

oh and technically we don’t call it a dojo. Not that I mind or care or that it makes a big difference or anything, but “dojo” is a Japanese term. Usually we just call it “the school” but if you wanna get cultural with it “gwoon” or “kwoon” would probably be more accurate.

Er, also, those of you over in the Wing Chun tag should probably be following the Wing Tsun tag too. Just sayin…

from “White Men Of Mortality Various” by Robbie Q. Telfer

It’s hard to say what I mean when what I mean is quicksand lightning bugs, I mean neighborhood fragrances, I mean the birds who live in the airport, I mean potato diseases and I don’t know which ones, I mean I don’t know. I don’t know what I mean. I’m basically bullshitting.

You know?

‎If I see any safety violations, Rogak here is gonna fuck-start your face. Then you get to go home and tell your mothers how you got fucked by a Jew.
closing note of today’s range safety brief delivered to Afghan guards, faithfully translated into Dari, as related to me by Brogak himself. Every language learning course should include “fuck-start”… now, what would be the Latin conjugation of that…