Grant Barrett displays gravitas in AJC

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU
Mon Nov 7 05:48:30 UTC 2005

Gravitas fad may sink from its own weight

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 11/07/05

The word rolls off the tongue with a hint of Latin, an air of
self-importance and a breeze of linguistic balderdash: gravitas.

Some words become fashionable, the verbal equivalents of faded jeans or
this year's gauchos. Lexical trends spring from pop culture (bling-bling
and yada yada) or current events (pandemic and refugee).

"That's the definition of a fad. It's used over and over," said Grant
Barrett, project manager for the Historical Dictionary of American Slang
and a member of the American Dialect Society, which selects a word of the
year. "Words are used over and over when they have utility."


More information about the Ads-l mailing list