Thanks to our DVR, I don’t see many commercials anymore. But occasionally we’re forced to watch live TV (like over the holidays, when regular programming is replaced with a 24-hour loop of It’s a Wonderful Life), which eliminates the possibility of fast forwarding, which in turn greatly increases the likelihood of my hearing at least 2 of the 4 Words I Wish They’d Stop Saying.
Now, my words aren’t as extreme as George Carlin’s 7 Words You Can’t Say on TV. And no, I don’t consider myself the proverbial stick-in-the-mudder shaking her fist at the younger generation—I realize every era has its “daddy-o’s” and “dudes.” But these 4 words have become so diluted by overexposure they’re meaningless. See if you don’t agree.
Amazing (/aˈMAAAAAAAAAzing/): “causing great surprise or wonder.” Apparently a very versatile word, because it’s used to describe everything from cable TV pricing to wedding dresses. Enough already! The word should be saved for the truly amazing, like sawing a woman in half or snagging a great parking spot on the first day of Nordstrom’s anniversary sale.
Awesome (\AWWWWW-səm\): “expressive of awe or inspiring awe; terrific, extraordinary.” OK, fine. I suppose to a fan, Taylor Swift’s new CD could be considered awesome, since Merriam-Webster let me down on this one with the inclusion of the terrific/extraordinary option. Really, though, shouldn’t the word be saved for solar eclipses or finding the $20 you forgot you stuffed in your coat pocket last year? Calling a YouTube video “awesome” (unless it’s the one where Pixel gets his bed back) simply cheapens the word.
Epic (/’e-pik/): “of, relating to, or having the characteristics of an epic; extending beyond the usual or ordinary especially in size or scope; heroic.” Please, save this word for an event worthy of its magnitude—like a tsunami, maybe, or the amount of patience required to sit through an hour of American Idol.* The sentence, “That salted caramel square at Starbucks was epic!” is overkill. Just say it was good. Tasty, even.
Iconic (\ī-ˈkä-nik\): “of, relating to, or having the characteristics of an icon; widely recognized and well-established; widely known and acknowledged especially for distinctive excellence.” Quite similar to epic in the overkill category. I would say Elvis Presley (for the record, I’m not a fan) is iconic in music history; however, I find it hard to believe a truck has an iconic payload capacity. Impressive, perhaps. But Elvis-impressive? Doubtful.