new words meaning.

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by mathman, Sep 2, 2022.

  1. mathman Valued Senior Member

    Recently new words have come into general usage. I can't quite figure ou what they are supposed to mean. 'woke' - seems to have political overtones. 'meme' - ?
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  3. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Meme is from 1976 - before the internet. It was Dawkins that coined it in his book The Selfish Gene. The word and the concept is a play on 'gene'

    A meme is an idea that is advantageously fit for survival; it reproduces and prospers much like a virus.

    Read the wiki article for a full understanding.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2022
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  5. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    'Woke' simply means culturally and ethically alert to injustice.
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  7. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    What you'll largely be exposed to with respect to such "awareness" are the pretentious, exploitive versions:

    Woke capitalism and woke-washing


    IOW, there are opportunistic progressives (who BTW are capitalists, not noble socialists -- both politicians and corporations) who hijack left movements and slogans to facilitate their own empowerment and profit. Kind of akin to how Elmer Gantry type "religious crusaders" exploit the sin fixation and do-gooderism of Christianity for gain and retribution, and camouflage their own public images in altruistic sainthood.

    "Greenwashing" is thrown into Woke context because climate change and social justice were tied together back in the 1990s, if not before. (I.e., the political conflation of the two is not really something new.) What affects the environment affects and disrupts equity. Is the latter a stealth word for an older legacy? Nah... let's not overdo the cynicism in an unsettling post that blurs the distinction between seriousness and parody.

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    Last edited: Sep 3, 2022
  8. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    That was the original idea.

    Unfortunately, majority usage these days seems to use the word to refer to photos with supposedly funny captions plastered across them and posted on the internet. The more general meaning seems to be disappearing.
    Again, the term "woke" has probably evolved from its initial meaning at this point. "Woke", these days, is more of an ideological position than simple awareness and care about injustice. "Woke" is increasingly being used as an excuse to limit free speech, unfortunately. But that's a whole other can of worms.
  9. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    I'm not sure that's true. While most won't recognise the "photo/caption" technically as an "image macro", I would think most still recognise that a meme needs to have gone viral, for example. Without that spread into people's consciousness, there is no meme, just a photo/caption, and I think the majority still understand that.
    But then I'm probably not mixing with those that do make up the majority these days, and those I do mix with understand what a meme is (or is supposed to mean).

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