Using “Awkward” Correctly

Rachel Quigley, Motherlode Editor

In this generation the words sick, epic fail, dope, down, and swag have taken on new definitions, the newest substitution being the term “awkward.”

Like other rising slang words, this definition has been distorted to encompass more than it originally did. Gone are the days when awkward was used only to describe someone with bad social skills.

As time passes, a language tends to simplify with the new generation, our current one being more at fault than many prior to it. However, with this simplification comes a misunderstanding.

The middle school teacher of someone, somewhere must not have explained the definition correctly because “awkward” is now used for everything.

“Oh I forgot to lock the door, that’s awkward.”

“It’s awkward that I forgot to eat breakfast this morning.”

“My teacher said, ‘oh that’s so awkward’ today in class. Um, awkward!”

“My mom told me to clean my room and I didn’t, awkward.”

“That awkward moment when you trip up the stairs in front of an attractive person…”

The last example may be a valid use of the word, but the point still stands: teenagers have the ability to make words become commonplace.

Something needs to change. Try choosing a different word to redefine before the present one is entirely worn-out. How about the word “jocose”? It can be used to describe someone that is funny or witty. “Jock” for short maybe?

“The jock improv kids put on a hilarious show last night!”

“Dude your dad had me rolling on the floor laughing; he’s such a jock.”

Ultimately, there is little chance that a donut will once again be called a “sinker” like it was in the 1920s, or that “jock” will ever mean something other than a popular football player.

But knowing the consequences of overusing a word, consider this: 50 years from now will the grandkids be calling you an “awkward old fart” or something much more unpleasant?