14 Overused Words That Have Lost Their Meaning Over Time

Genius

Open book and pile of books on the white table with light grey background

Ah, “genius.” Once reserved for people of “exceptional” and “extraordinary” intellect and/or creativity—Albert Einstein, Shakespeare, and the like—today people use “genius” to laud pretty much anyone who comes up with a helpful solution or performs a routine fix. Deservedly so or no, you may well have been called a “genius” so often that it hardly even seems like a compliment in most circumstances. Is the dilution of “genius,” and the following comparable words, a “good” or “bad” thing? That certainly depends on who you ask. But there’s no denying that, as the popular, prevailing meanings of words change, they often drift farther and farther away from the “correct” meaning.


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