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Words That Have Changed Meaning Over Time

Words change meaning over time in ways that might surprise you. Here are just a few examples of words (so, preacher, take your choice) you may not have realized didn't always mean what they mean today.

  1. Nice: This word used to mean "silly, foolish, simple." Far from the compliment it is today!
  2. Silly: Meanwhile, silly went in the opposite direction: in its earliest uses, it referred to things worthy or blessed; from there it came to refer to the weak and vulnerable, and more recently to those who are foolish.

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