Thursday, January 10, 2008

Do Words Mean Anything Anymore?

CNN's weatherman Chad Myers earlier this afternoon led off coverage of tornado coverage in Mississippi by saying the number of severe weather warnings had gotten "truly astronomical."

What qualifies as "astronomical," a word meant to describe numbers found in astronomy that the human mind can't really comprehend, these days? Twelve, apparently.

Look, I try to keep my instincts for proper language usage under some degree of control, if only because I don't mind getting an invitation to a dinner party once in a while. But do any superlative adjectives mean anything but "a lot" or "very good" anymore?

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