Hey guys, Freya here! Today, I thought I would discuss some adjectives in the English language – specifically, those which are used as slang. I wonder if you have noticed any adjectives which can mean the opposite of how they sound?
I am from the West Midlands in England which doesn’t see a lot of slang words. However, I recently moved to Portsmouth, which is in the South of England and is much closer to London. London is the heart of a lot of words and phrases we have here and because of the growing younger generation, they spread around quite quickly! I was so confused by a lot of the words I heard when I moved because they sound so different to the original meanings I was used to. Here are few examples:
Original meaning: Affected with an illness.
Slang meaning: A statement of something good.
In this example, ‘sick’ has two very opposite meanings. In the original, someone would usually say, ‘I am sick today’ – meaning they are unwell. However, in the latter meaning, it is used to describe when something was cool or amazing – ‘wow, that goal was sick!’ Definitely can be confusing!
Original meaning: The highest level.
Slang meaning: Bad luck.
In this example, ‘peak’ means the opposite as well! If the original meaning depicts the highest level – such as the top of a mountain – then it seems to be completely inverted to use it to describe a bad situation… The lowest point some might say!
Original meaning: Evil or immoral.
Slang meaning: Awesome!
‘Wicked’ has been used to describe many evil beings, such as the Wicked Witch of the West. However, it is now also used to suggest something cool happened: ‘That film was wicked!’.
It should be noted that the original meanings of the adjectives are still used frequently. I think it is just interesting that some adjective’s meanings have been inverted in modern use.
So if you ever read or hear some adjectives that don’t seem right in context, consider whether they have been turned on their heads from their original meaning! It certainly can lead to funny conversations if people mistake one for the other!
P.S. I chose this image because the animals are unlikely friends – maybe these words are too!
I live and work in the UK and have a degree in English Language and Literature. When I am not on Fruitful, I work as a teaching assistant at a school. I am passionate about the environment and love to travel and read.