Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Thu Feb 11 14:02:39 UTC 2010

Can now mean "surprising," with no sense of fright, indignation, outrage,
horror, etc. - the kind of stuff that leads tabloids to use the word in all
their headlines.

Today's Yahoo News: "Ancient Man's Genes Reveal Surprises...Shocking

If the shocking origin means the source of the recovered DNA (unlikely,
IMO), hold on to your hats: "Scientists have sequenced the DNA from four
frozen hairs of a Greenlander who died 4,000 years ago...."

Whoa! Hard for me to handle.

If  it refers instead to the poor chap's ethnic origin, maybe you'd better
sit down: "Surprisingly, the long-dead man appears to have originated in
Siberia and is unrelated to modern Greenlanders...."

I'm trembling.  But the article goes on to say that he didn't originate in
Siberia personally, just his ancestors.  Anthropologists find this
historically significant, not surprising, hardly "shocking."

Cf. a post from a few years back, the laptop colors (IIRC) that "scream
fashion!" (or something very similar).

When the naked temptress rose from the bathtub in _Goldfinger_ to distract
James Bond while an assassin crept up behind  - and JB had to electrocute
her with a fan - now *that* was "Shocking! Positively shocking!"


"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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