Thursday, April 2, 2009

Unprecedented

I Googled "unprecedented" just now and there are 25,200,000 references available. The word has, obviously, been in and around our vocabularies forever. However, it seems to be getting (forgive me) unprecedented use in the past few years.

Examples from the top 20 Google listings:
  • The 2000 election was unprecedented in the Gore/Bush battle for the presidency ...
  • Treasury Secretary Geithner will push for unprecedented new regulatory powers ...
  • Microsoft's Ultimate Office Deal offers unprecedented savings for ...
  • World Bank under Cyber Siege in 'Unprecedented Crisis' ...
  • Leading through unprecedented times ...
  • Unprecedented size, scope in president's proposal ...
  • An unprecedented investment opportunity ...
  • Study finds unprecedented growth in climate change lobbying ...
... and let's not forget how many times we heard "unprecedented" in connection with this past November's presidential election.

Enough already! I don't know about you but I'm quite tired of that word in connection with anything. It has become a one word cliche unto itself since the (dare I say it) unprecedented 2000 election.


As a refresher*:

un⋅prec⋅e⋅dent⋅ed – adjective without previous instance; never before known or experienced; unexampled or unparalleled: an unprecedented event.

Synonyms include:
So why can't journalists use something other than unprecedented to freshen their writing? It's a lazy habit, according to me. Maybe some of the occurrences have been unprecedented but, c'mon, find some other words to describe them. My ears are literally calloused from hearing the U word so darned often.

Please join me in my extraordinary, freakish, idiosyncratic, unparalleled protest against the use of unprecedented.


Thank you.

*definition and synonyms courtesy of dictionary.com.

2 comments:

LceeL said...

So many words get overused, it seems. Do you suppose it's because we don't have enough? Perhaps we need to start making stuff up. New words for old situations. Instead of 'unprecedented', we could say .. nopredoit or naydobefore. One could have fun with this ....

Badass Geek said...

Perfect! I hated hearing that word spoken over and over and over again.

Same with "the first African-American to do (fill in the blank)".