Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"Sex" is now an adjective

I missed where this happened. According to Comment #4 from this post on Pretty Much Amazing's blog, "sex" is a verb that explains extreme joy and approval.

Once upon a time, to express extreme excitement, satisfaction or pleasure, it was appropriate to use descriptions like "bad, filthy, disgusting, or dirty" (or sometimes "duuurty"). It could almost be deemed insulting to say something "was super," and everyone knows you're underwhelmed when you say "yeah, it was great."

But there's something at work here bigger than my obliviousness to a linguistic development. With this change, the Adjective Superlative Circle, which measures how words will accurately express the desired level of excitement, has experienced a complete inversion. Where it was once better to "insult" something to express approval, now giving superlative praise demonstrates legitimate enthusiasm. The graphic below demonstrates this phenomenon visually.

Adjective Superlative Circle

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