I am looking for a list of words that were used to mean something different from for what they are used now.

  • some words are such that whose meaning has changed completely and
  • some words have more than one meaning, but earlier one meaning was in popular use and nowadays another meaning is in popular use.

I am posting two links here and here, both talk about the change of meaning of some words over a period of some hundreds of years, but I am only interested in past one hundred years period, not older than that.

In case if it is too much for you to type to explain the earlier meaning and recent meaning, you can just type the word, I will try to find the two usages.

closed as too broad by Mari-Lou A, user66974, Ronan, Hugo, Robusto Sep 10 '14 at 9:39

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    You can find a few in this interesting link: aggslanguage.wordpress.com/semantic-change – user66974 Sep 10 '14 at 5:19
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    You should start off with slang, for example the term bitch usually referred to a female dog, then its derogatory meaning became predominate but always referred to women. Finally, today, the term can be used for both sexes. – Mari-Lou A Sep 10 '14 at 5:19
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    This is an "nice" paper on semantic reversal. List type questions are OT here, though. – anongoodnurse Sep 10 '14 at 5:35
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    A modern-day list huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/26/… I think your question is "too broad", there are literally hundreds of words that have changed their meanings in the last thirty years, let alone one hundred. – Mari-Lou A Sep 10 '14 at 5:45
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    'Insegrevious', which many would consider a word, possibly changes meaning every time it's used: insegrevious; insegreviate; insegreviously: a catch-all word meaning “anything you want it to mean!" [M-W] – Edwin Ashworth Sep 10 '14 at 8:22

How about these:

Some of these may not be exactly what you are looking for.

  • These are absolutely amazing! How did you know that Mathias? Harbinger! – Fattie Sep 10 '14 at 11:29
  • It's interesting that some are "soft" meaning change. For example, apparently "obsequious" meant "dutiful" but it has come to mean "dutiful suck-up". So, that's a "strong change of tone". For example, it would appear that "restive" has literally reversed meaning. It would be interesting to find words that just "changed meaning altogether!" (to a totally different field, as it were!) – Fattie Sep 10 '14 at 11:31

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