I spend about 90% of my time on the internet looking stuff up for work on Google. Actually I don’t know how I would be able to cope in my present position if it weren’t for this amazing invention. I look up everything: airline information, weather charts for Singapore, how best to see the Northern Lights, square footage of hotel rooms, and pictures of various place for clients who need to see the place they are going to before they actually go there.
In the midst of a search for a picture of a hotel room today I stumbled across the following description which gave me reason to pause:
“There was the most stunning view from the hotel room.”
I have never understood the word stunning. It is generally used to describe beautiful women or rare gemstones, which if you look at the definition makes sense:
“Strikingly impressive or attractive in appearance”
But since when did adding a little old –ing onto the end of a word completely freaking change the definition. Confused? Then let me break the word down for you.
The root for the word “stunning” is “stun”. The definitions for the word “stun” are as follows:
1) to shock somebody
2) make somebody unconscious
3) overwhelm sense
None of these have anything to do with being attractive or impressive. Unless you are attracted to or impressed by a Taser, jellyfish or the electric chair.
But wait, there was something else about the definition of “stunning” that bothered me. The use of the word “striking”, which is another word which the definition has nothing to freaking do with the root.
The definition of “strike” in its most literal sense:
1) hit somebody or something
2) deliver blow (and not the Columbian kind)
3) collide with somebody or something
Whereas “striking” is defined as:
2) Attractive or impressive
3) On strike
Okay, I might have lost some people on the third one but those first two have nothing to do with getting jacked in the face.
Where are the laws of definition that by adding an –ing it makes a different use of the root word? Need an example?
Drown – Die by immersion in water
Drowning – Die by immersion in water
There are so many other examples that my head is starting to hurt from trying to figure all this out. Good thing I am going to drown my confusion and consternation with Black and Tans at Pub Trivia tonight…
~The Office Scribe
Sunburns, hang ups, and paper mouths
1 month ago