Tag Archives: amazing

The award goes to…

Last night’s Academy Awards  can be summed up in one word: “amazing.”

I’m not talking about the production or the fashions or the performances. I’m talking about the word I’m voting most overused.

Heard on the red carpet:

“This is an amazing night.”
“You have an amazing figure.”
“We’re going to have an amazing time.”
“It’s great to be in the company of these amazing actors.”
“Just look at all these amazing people.”
“You look amazing.”
“Your earrings are amazing.”

I’ve noticed this adjective with an appropriately limited definition has gone epidemic (so has “viral;” that’s why I say “epidemic.”). But if there were any doubt, all anyone would have to do to confirm the diagnosis is watch the Oscars.

The awards program itself was sprinkled with “amazing.” Admittedly, I’d find just being in the Kodak Theatre on such an occasion amazing. So I’ll cut some slack to those who say it feels amazing to be up on that stage to receive a statue.

My point is, let’s save “amazing” for the truly amazing, as we’ve talked about doing with other overused adjectives. Not for earrings.

This morning’s online headlines illustrate this point.

“Jennifer Hudson is amazing in orange at the Oscars”
Oscars: Amazing gowns offer red-carpet options”
Oscars Best Dressed! Check out the Amazing Academy Awards (this one also notes how amazing Celine Dion looks post-twins.)

I even found a recipe for “Amazing Academy Award-winning Appetizers.” How amazing can a pig in a blanket be, unless perhaps it involves a live pig?

Even the JCPenney commercials played along last night: “We make it affordable; you make it amazing.”



Filed under All Things Wordish, Beauty and Fashion, Marketing/Advertising/PR, Movies, Television and Radio, Rants and Raves

That’s incredible!

I knew what I was doing. I even paused, but I did it anyway. I used the word “brilliant.” Again.

Yesterday I applied it to Victor Borge, who undoubtedly deserves it. But I plead guilty of overusing “brilliant,” or using it to overstate when I don’t intend to overstate.

I admit, I am easily impressed, so I find a lot of people and ideas brilliant. However, if I keep flinging “brilliant” around, its significance will become diluted.

I think I picked up this habit when I was working internationally. The international crowd flings it around loosely.

I say, “How about we meet in the lobby at seven-thirty?”

Brilliant!” a chum responds.

“Then maybe we can get a coffee?” (Here we say “some” coffee; in Europe, it’s “a” coffee. When in Rome…)


Is it really brilliant to get coffee at 7:30 in the morning? Is there a Nobel Prize for such a breakthrough idea?

This makes me wonder what other adjectives overstate in everyday language.

I’ve heard such statements as “I went to the park today” answered with “That’s awesome!”

How about this one? “That bagel was amazing!” I’ve eaten thousands of bagels in my lifetime, most were tasty, many were delicious, but I can’t recall any as having been amazing, in the literal sense. What could a bagel do to amaze me? Spin around on its own? Stand on end while a caper is shot through its middle from across the deli?

I feel the same way about “incredible,” “countless,” maybe even “absolutely,” though I know  that’s an adverb.

I’m as guilty as anyone of overusing all of these adjectives, but I will try to use them a little more selectively in the future. Maybe you know of a few more and would like to join me in pulling back a bit.

But you have to admit, Victor Borge really is brilliant.


Filed under All Things Wordish, Travel