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I've recently read about a word that was defined both as "shockingly good" and "shockingly bad", but I can't seem to recall the word. Does anyone know what it is? As far as I can recall, it was a slang word.

Edit: I hate to answer my own question, but I just found the word again, it's egregious, defined here.

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closed as too localized by Jasper Loy, JSBձոգչ, tenfour, simchona, Mehper C. Palavuzlar Feb 14 '12 at 16:54

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Why not shocking? –  rdhs Feb 14 '12 at 15:11
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sick added by @Robusto works. Why does this question get voted down?! –  Vladtn Feb 14 '12 at 15:30
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This question seems a fair word request to me. –  Brian Hooper Feb 14 '12 at 16:57
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'Bad' is the classic example of this: e.g. "That's one bad cat" can be negative or positive. –  Mitch Feb 14 '12 at 17:00
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Good one: egregious. But, I should caution you it is not slang, quite a formal word it is. Though, it is used more in the negative sense, than the good. –  karthik Feb 14 '12 at 17:10
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4 Answers 4

up vote 4 down vote accepted

The colloquial expression sick covers both of those bases.

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This, along with Mitch's reply, is closest to what I was originally looking for. Thanks! –  vladh Feb 14 '12 at 17:02
    
'sick' is more extreme, in the direction of 'shockingly'. But for both, the positive version is usually slang and needs the right situation. –  Mitch Feb 15 '12 at 16:01
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I don't know what term you may be referring to, but bear in mind that irony can always turn anything to mean its opposite.

You passed your mid term exams? Good ! What's next? The finals?
You killed your cat? Good ! What's next? Your parents?

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Voted up for making me laugh. Thanks! –  vladh Feb 14 '12 at 16:59
    
Michael Jackson introduced "Bad" as having the meaning of "Good" to the mainstream a few centuries ago. "Can there be no end to this confusion??" ;) –  Henrik Erlandsson Aug 12 '12 at 20:04
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Maybe you've heard "awesome"? It literally means something that creates fear, but it's used in colloquial situations to express that something is "great", "fantastic" or "cool".

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Any reason why my answer isn't helpful? –  Raku Feb 14 '12 at 14:58
    
I can't think of any context in which "awesome" would mean "shockingly bad" as in the question. Moreover awe is a specific concept, although it could be related to some kind of fear. Like in the sublime –  Vladtn Feb 14 '12 at 16:28
    
'Awesome' has changed its meaning over time. The OP is asking about a word right now that can be used for one meaning and its opposite. –  Mitch Feb 14 '12 at 16:59
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@Mitch: Well, awesome is definitely no worse than egregious, which right now only means extremely bad (and I honestly never knew it to mean anything else). At least awesome still, to this day, really means "evoking awe", which can be either positive, negative, or (most properly) a mingling of both. –  John Y Sep 10 '12 at 20:50
    
@JohnY: OK. 'awesome' I suppose could be used for something negative, it's just not the first thing that comes to my mind. –  Mitch Sep 10 '12 at 21:06
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The question is an interesting one. If it is about feelings for a thing or person, a formal option could be "ambivalent", if it is supposed to evoke both good and bad reactions / love and hate emotions about a thing or a person.

Another interesting case could be a word, that can be interpreted to be either good or bad, and the person who used the term meant only one of those, not both. Such a word is "fantastic" and also a reason @Raku should not have used it in his answer. If I say, "John gave us fantastic support at the time of crisis", I may have meant it in a good way, that his support was really something beyond what could be expected, or in a bad way, I may have meant that his support was not of any worth, it was unreal, imaginary, fantastic. There are similar other words, which you can think of.

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I was referring more to what you meant in your second paragraph. Thank you! –  vladh Feb 14 '12 at 16:52
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