Short and Ranty - words

Short and ranty is what this blog post is. Me, I'm quite tall and ranty. Today I'm ranting about the term 'Hack' as in 'life hack, 'parenting hack', 'storage hack', 'money saving hacks' etc etc

What does anyone think this means? Does it mean anything and who started it? Hacking as in the original meaning (to cut, notch, slice, chop, or sever (something) with or as with heavy, irregular blows) came into popular use to mean a break into a computer system. OK I can live with that, it's a virtual cut, or slice, into a programme, fine. But as a life idea? I presume some bright spark somewhere thought 'ooh changing a computer system is a hack so maybe changing something in my life is a hack too'

Well it isn't, you sound ridiculous and this mangling (hack can also mean to mangle BTW) of the language has to stop. I'm happy for words to change meaning over time but grabbing a word and shoving it into a space where perfectly good words for that thing already exist is just ridiculous and demeans the language.

You don't have a 'camping hack' you have a good idea. You see, an IDEA, the word was there already! A cunning thing that people might not have thought of that could help them if they adopted it. Try it, try using "I have a great idea" rather than "I have a hack for that" it works and you sound so much more human.

For some great camping ideas and not a hack in sight try my other blog WWW.TentsAndFestivals.co.uk

It took off with 'troll' too. Troll originally meant a person that threw ideas (often but not always vile ones) out into the public domain to get a reaction. Hence the often used term "don't feed the trolls". Feeding a troll in the form of replies to a deliberately controversial post/tweet/message etc was what they wanted so it was suggested ignoring them would work. Nowadays a troll seems to have become anyone on social media that says anything people don't like and specifically someone who threatens or is particularly vile in their attacks. Well in my opinion while they may be a troll as well, they are more than just a troll, they are often breaking the law for a start and I'd like a new word in this case. Any ideas?

And a last little rant about 'literally'. I am literally going to talk about it! I metaphorically throw up each time someone uses the word 'literally' to mean its exact opposite. Can we not move back to either 'metophorically' or even 'almost'. As in "I almost died" "I almost threw up" "I metaphorically killed him" "I literally wet myself" wait ... you literally wet yourself? I hope you got your jeans cleaned up OK.


  1. Karen Butcher28/3/15

    Oh you are so right with this. My pet hate is also teenagers (usually) inserting the word "like" into every sentence. Whenever my daughter does it, I have to say something....

    I understand that language is continually evolving but sometimes the evolution is incomprehensible!

  2. john adams29/3/15

    May I add one to the list? "Meme" What on Earth does this word mean and why do people use it?


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