One of the things that I rail against every now and then is how perfectly good words have gotten ruined over time and, frequently, misuse. Today's word is "ignorant".
It seems to me that these days to call someone 'ignorant' is worse than calling them 'stupid'. 'Stupid' is arguing words, while 'ignorant' is fighting words.
Why are people afraid to be seen as ignorant? Why does it get one's dander up so fully? I was at a vendor once, asking them to explain a portion of their process to me (along with the "why's" of it), and I explained that his was a process that I was pretty much completely ignorant of. He graciously responded with "It's not that you're ignorant, you just don't know."
Thanks for clearing that up for me. It's not that you're ugly, you're just gargoylesque to look at.
In the Etymological Dictionary (Here), the word ignorant means :
"not to know, to be unacquainted; mistake, misunderstand; take no notice of, pay no attention to".
There are a LOT of things that I don't know, and too many things that I'm unacquainted with. More that I don't and aren't than there are that I do and are.
Somewhere along the lines this word was ruined and obtained its sense of ill-mannered or rude. Now, all that anyone hears when this word is used is negative connotation (granted, there's no real *positive* connotation, but to not know something isn't exactly negative either).
I think that what we've got here is nothing more than evolution. Linguistic evolution. Language is a thing very much alive, and words change their meaning by geography, tone, context, and time. Evolution is a good thing, by and large, but every now and then a word, much like a species of animal, gets ruined, alas.
- I'm a life-long New Englander, father of 4 challenging kids (I know: I'm supposed to say "wonderful", but while that'd be true, technically speaking, it'd also be misleading), and fortunate husband to my favorite wife of more than 20 years. I've got over 20 years experience breaking things as a test engineer, quality engineer, reliability engineer, and most recently (and most enjoyably) a Product Safety / EMC Compliance Engineer. In the photo, I'm on the left.