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Jesse Sheidlower jester at PANIX.COM
Wed Jul 25 15:24:52 UTC 2001

> What's the history of "majorly"? I've seen (and never heard) it only
> very recently (and, perhaps mistakenly, associate it with what I
> might call (noncondescendingly, I hope) "youth culture." I'm sure
> some of word-watchers can let us in on the history of this (which may
> be ancient for all I know; my life has been pretty sheltered).

Here's the OED entry. HDAS has a somewhat different take, and considers
more of these to be slang, but the idea is there.

  1. a. Greatly, extremely.

  1955 Jrnl. Politics 17 II. 274 The absolutism of decalogues and of
two-foot no effective guide for any majorly changing
society. 1992 Tucson Weekly 15 Jan. 38/3 Don't worry about all the
homework you're going to get for staying home or your barfing will
increase majorly. 1997 Guardian 19 July 5 Doug Doretti, president of
the company, said last night:

    b. colloq. (orig. U.S.). As an intensifier, modifying an adjective: really, very.

  1983 Washington Post (Nexis) 27 June, I never feel like crying. It's
never anything majorly serious. 1988 J. MCINERNEY Story of my Life
ix. 147 I'm like majorly depressed. 1989 M. DORRIS Broken Cord xi. 189
There's nothing majorly wrong. 1995 Gazette (Montreal) 22 Jan. F6 It
was a real bachelor pad, majorly slimy.

    2. Largely, in the main.

  1956 Mod. Lang. Notes 71 7 532 Mr. Watkins is quite aware that
Milton had other sides to his nature and to his thought, but he likes
to think that he was majorly a poet and, consequently, should be
judged on his poetry. 1971 N.Y. Law Jrnl. 23 Nov. 4/4 The conclusions
of the writers, however, are majorly unsupportable, illogical,
unknowledgeable and inconsistent. 1992 Elle Jan. 84/3 The chronic and
worsening wrist pain..has been majorly lessened.


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