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Once used to describe the feeling of awe created by, for example, Man walking on the Moon – now the word AWESOME just means Cool…

If you want to bond with Canadians in any situation, this is the word you need in your vocabulary!

A is for AwesomeYou’ll have to bear in mind things have changed a bit. Originally used in late 16th century English to convey the ability to inspire fear or awe, numerous examples of it could be found in the Bible, describing the “mighty and awesome” power of God. (Although not as numerous as the number of times it might be found in a 5-minute audio-sample recorded in an American school canteen).

These days it’s used by teens to describe anything from pizza to a well executed 360 degree Pop Shuv It – that, for those of you wondering if I forgot to proof-read, is a skateboarding term.

It can be, and is, liberally applied, by people of all ages here in Canada, to whatever might benefit from its emphatic validation, and it has gradually crept into my children’s lexicon. Its over-application has led to a sharp increase in its Irritability Quotient coupled with a dive in the legitimacy of its meaning. Now people who use “awesome” can be viewed as “lame” (that’s pathetic, not hobbling, just to be clear) by those who have moved with the vocabularic times and embraced “phat”, “sick” and “illin'”!

Where do you fall in the Generation Gap Guide To Expressions of Greatness?

  • 1920’s – the cat’s meow, the cat’s pyjamas, top-drawer
  • 1930’s – tops
  • 1940’s – swell
  • 1950’s – cool, hip
  • 1960’s – groovy (baby!)
  • 1970’s – far out
  • 1980’s – ace
  • 1990’s – awesome
  • present day – phat, sick
If you’d like more help with Canadian verbiage, have a look at the English/Canuck Dictionary


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