No, I don’t mean you’re all going to fail.

What I’m referring to is a new use of the word, a verb, “fail.” A verb is an action word. It’s something someone or something (the subject) does, did, or will do. Example: I failed my math test. (Bummer.)

Now, “fail” is also being used as a noun, or interjection. An interjection is an exclamatory remark, such as, “hey!” Fail has come to mean something didn’t work.


My cousin Lee's cup of coffee, as posted on his Facebook page
My cousin Lee's cup of coffee, as posted on his Facebook page

He titled this photo, “Fail.”

Coincidentally, and with a great amount of serendipity,  this morning when I opened up my Visual Thesaurus account, there was an article about the word fail. Along with that, there was a link to a New York Times article on the Buzzwords of 2008. This led me to think about how language changes over time, sometimes slowly, sometimes overnight. I was pleased to see Jack Black’s Kung Fu Panda “skadoosh” made the cut.


Changes in language sneak up on us. We don’t really keep track consciously, and then, voila! We’re using words we weren’t a year, a month, or even a day ago.  Think of developing your vocabulary that way, too. Add new words, use them, understand them, and build your brain. Think about it: when someone says “skadoosh,” you know exactly what they’re talking about, because you’ve seen the movie, you have BACKGROUND KNOWLEDGE, it’s part of your SCHEMA.   The more you know, well, the more you can know.

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