Five words that don’t mean what you think they do - Deepstash

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The Meaning Of "Pretty"

The Meaning Of "Pretty"

  • The word is from Old English "prættig" which means "cunning"
  • By the 15th century, people used it to describe something that is made cleverly or artful.
  • Over time, the modern use for the word pretty is not used to describe someone who is attractive and good-looking or pleasing to the eyes. The word is often thrown as a compliment, mostly towards females.
  • There are, however, ironic ways to use "pretty". Phrases like "pretty pass" or "pretty state of affairs"

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The Meaning Of "Tall"

The Meaning Of "Tall"

  • The word is an Old English word that meant swift or active.
  • By the 15th century, the word had emerged many different meanings ranging from being handsome to someone who is skillful. Expressions such as "tall of hand" and "tall of tongue" also arose which meant that this person was handy and good at arguing, respectively.
  • In the 16th century, the word tall has been used for subsequent metaphorical extensions like how large meant "tall order".

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The Meaning Of "Silly"

The Meaning Of "Silly"

  • This word came from Old English where it meant happy or fortunate. As time passed it then got associated with "piousness" and "holiness" because the innocent are easily taken advantage of and the word "silly" came to signal a person who they deemed weak or helpless.
  • In addition to that, the negative associations to the word "silly" increased to the point where it started to mean that the person lacked sophistication thus the emergence of the modern sense of "foolishness".

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The Meaning Of "Naughty"

The Meaning Of "Naughty"

  • It originally meant to describe someone who has nothing, thus the saying "to have naught".
  • Then it was used to describe someone who is immoral but in a much less intense scenario, it is used to describe someone who is disobedient.
  • When one is being "naughty", they are usually put in a "naughty corner" a place of isolation to be sent in as a punishment.
  • The indecency that comes with the word "naughty" was originally found in a Monty Python sketch back in the 1970s and is carried until today.

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The Meaning Of "Sad"

  • In Old English, sæd, meant full.
  • In German, satt, still means full.
  • In Latin, satis, meant enough.
  • By the 14th century, sad meant firm and resolute thus developing the seriousness of the word.
  • In the modern era, sad now means that "one is in sorrow" or someone who is weary and tired.

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