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Some thing WICKED this way comes!

A discussion of word histories and origins.

Some thing WICKED this way comes!

Postby eberntson » Thu Feb 10, 2005 12:20 pm

I think it is WICKED that fudge ice cream is so WICKED good!

Do you get my point? I have lived in a couple parts of America and "wicked" has manny conotaqtions and meaning.

In Maine, some thing can be "wicked good!"

In Boston, Mass some one can be "wicked!"

And in California, it can be "wicked awesome", but in the valley "wicked" has a few other meanings.

Could you clear this up for me please?
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Postby M. Henri Day » Tue Feb 15, 2005 12:21 pm

The use of words originally possessing strongly negative connotations as intensifiers in neutral or positive senses is common not only in English («terribly funny») but also in Swedish as well. Indeed, I have seen proposals, not entirely facetious, from linguists that nouns in Swedish, for example, could be defined as members of the word class that takes «[d]jävla» (adjectival form of «djävul», Eng «devil») as a modifier, adjectives those that take «skit» («s h i t»), and verbs those that take the phrase «ut i helvete» («in Hell», «hellishly». And I remember a small child describing something very hot as «isvarmt» («ice-hot». Now when our cousins the Pan spp can do the same, I'll say they've got language !...

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Last edited by M. Henri Day on Wed Feb 16, 2005 11:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby anders » Wed Feb 16, 2005 8:15 am

One of my first encounters with this principle, which I haven't yet noted in, say, Arabic, Hindi or Chinese, (but sure will be looking for) was Swedish "hemskt gott" ('(tasting) terribly good'). We use it all the time, not always reproducible in print for mixed audiences.
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Postby M. Henri Day » Wed Feb 16, 2005 11:11 am

anders wrote:... We use it all the time, not always reproducible in print for mixed audiences.

Mixed in what way ? Mixed up ?...

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contradictory words

Postby KatyBr » Wed Feb 16, 2005 1:12 pm

just as baaad became 'good', 'hot' bacame cool, and phat is de bomb!

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Postby anders » Fri Feb 18, 2005 7:40 pm

During my U of Technoly years, the highest praise for a pun was "Den var dålig", "That was a miserable/poor/bad one".
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Postby Flaminius » Fri Feb 18, 2005 9:20 pm

Anders, you are stupid none!

A while back I watched a video clip from The Story of English. It told of a unique playful use of negatives in Tangerine Island, somewhere in New England (spelling uncertain, pronunciation uncertain and location uncertain :oops: ). There, "You are ugly none," means that you are very beautiful. If I remember correctly there is a slight pause between "none" and the rest of the sentence.

Everytime I hear WICKED in sense of "great," I can almost visualise a small tag of none at the end of the utterance. Perhaps this is the way it all started?
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Postby Flaminius » Sun Feb 20, 2005 12:14 pm

One of the latest intensifiers originating from a Japanese negative adjective is yabai (in Levantine Arabic, yaabayi is an exclamation of happy surprise like YAY, btw). Yabai originally meant, and still means for those above 40 years of age, dangerous or strange. Yabai shigoto is a job that is dangerous because it involves some degree of criminality.

Some of the make-ups that younger generations could call yabai keshoo seems really yabai in the original sense to me.

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Postby Garzo » Mon Feb 21, 2005 7:27 pm

En Français, je pense, le même concept est prononcé par "mortel".
"Poetry is that which gets lost in translation" — Robert Frost
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Postby Flaminius » Tue Feb 22, 2005 11:03 am

Be-`ivrit, omrim chaval `al ha-zman.
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Postby Verbum » Thu Mar 03, 2005 5:59 pm

In Québec, "écoeurant" (disgusting) is currently used by teenagers to mean "wicked good". Go figure!

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Postby mbx_pdx » Fri Sep 09, 2005 12:25 pm

According to "Grimoire for the Green Witch" by Anne Moura [Llewelyn Press], the etymological origins of the terms "Witch," "Wicca," and "Wicked" come from the old celtic root "Wycche" meaning "Wise," as the Wicca in the British Isles B.C.E. and for some time C.E. were seen as healers and spiritually divine. The negative connotations of "Wicked" were evolved during the Witch Hunts of the eleventh through seventeenth/eighteenth centuries C.E.

I prefer the term "Bloody" as an intensifier, mainly because of my chronic Anglophilia.
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Postby KatyBr » Fri Sep 09, 2005 12:59 pm

Welcome mbx-pdx...., hope you enjoy posting here and bring us all some interesting points to ponder.

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Postby mbx_pdx » Fri Sep 09, 2005 9:43 pm

I just hope that I'm sufficiently eloquent. I've never been in an environment in which verbophilia is exercised in a professional capacity.
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Postby Brazilian dude » Fri Sep 09, 2005 10:12 pm

Nah, we'll see we're pretty regular guys. Right, people?

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