The word invaluable, defined as something extremely useful or indispensable, means powerful and positive. I despise this word. The problem for me that many of the words I’ve learned over the years, which begin with ‘in,’ describe something opposite the definition of the word that follows said ‘in.’ So, my mind has to shift from it being something negative to it being positive. Why is the English language so damn wishy-washy about its rules?
Here is a list of just a few of the words we’ve all grown up to understand as the opposite just because the ‘in’ is in front of it:
Add to that, pet peeve #2, people using the word when I’m already conflicted about having to rethink it when I read it! How come they aren’t just as upset as I am?!? And why can’t anyone give me a reasonable explanation as to why the word should even exist?
Then recently, I’m reading a book called 180 more, a book filled with poetry curated by Billy Collins. I adore his work! But right there in the introduction, HE used the word. I was stunned! I had to stop reading for a bit and compose myself. And possibly rethink my relationship with him.
While I realize that words have meanings, and it is in the dictionary, I cannot wrap my mind around the inconsistency (< again LOOK!) of the use of ‘in’ at the front of words which clearly mean to indicate the opposite or worse action of the word.
Anybody else have this quandary?
#Billy Collins – I sure hope you see this. I would love your input. 🙂
How ironic to receive this meme from a friend today! I’m chuckling still. 🙂
What needs to be said is that words have a specific meaning. This is why we have dictionaries. They remind us how to use words in their correct context. Does and can the definition of a word change over time? Of course. But if we are using a current definition of something then this is what informs us about the content while reading or guiding us, does it not?
Otherwise, isn’t deviating from the definition of a word to satisfy one’s own interpretation simply just making up something entirely new but still wanting to call it the same thing? It’s illogical, IMO, if we already have an established norm for sharing information.