First of all, words intensely fascinate me. I don’t know why but I just find the etymology of words and how they evolve over time and the usage of words really really interesting. So.. weird. A weird word I must say. I was going to write this post about our perception of people and things being ‘weird’ and how we call a lot of things ‘weird’ that shouldn’t really be called ‘weird’. But then I got thinking about what the actual definition of the word ‘weird’ is and I wondered about the etymology of it, so we’ll get to that other stuff later because I find ‘weird’ very interesting. (I’ve written the word ‘weird’ too many times already and now it looks weird (haha)).
The Etymology of Weird
So to start off with, the most commonly known dictionary definition of the word weird is as follows:
(adj.) suggesting something supernatural; unearthly.
Some synonyms include: uncanny, eerie, supernatural, unearthly, unreal, mysterious.
I found this interesting to start with, because the way it is very commonly and regularly used in today’s language is to mean something odd, or unusual, rather than something supernatural. Looking at this definition just makes me think even more that the word weird is incredibly overused. It’s just used in situations and contexts where it’s describing something that really isn’t that ‘weird’ at all, just perhaps, different.
However, I also found another definition of the word which dates back to Old English, but was spelt ‘wyrd’. The word was originally a noun, meaning fate or destiny, but the definition still differed from the concept of fate we may know today. Fate nowadays is more associated with a predetermined destination, whereas ‘wyrd’ referred more to a destiny created by one’s earlier actions.
I found all this quite fascinating, which is why I decided to share it. I think the reason I found it so intriguing is because ‘weird’ is just a word that everyone uses without a second thought in many many different situations. We use it in situations where we are confused, surprised or not expecting something, when we think something is different to what we’re used to, when something seems off, and in many other contexts. I think that people could use many other words to describe things to present a more accurate portrayal of feelings and observations, but no, we just choose weird! I would conclude this by saying I think that this is all quite weird, but what I mean is… it’s different from what I have always perceived ‘weird’ as and I am slightly surprised (pleasantly, however) by this new knowledge.
Everyone is Weird
Now for the second segment, where I talk about what initially prompted my research into the word weird, and in which I completely contradict all that I just said and fully misuse and overuse the word weird!!
Okay, so we’ve all called someone else weird in our lives and we’ve all probably been called weird, or had something we do be called weird, or something we eat, something we wear etc etc. I’m sure we’ve all also heard all that about ‘everyone’s weird’ or ‘no one is normal’ or ‘what is normal?’ and ‘what is weird?’. And if you haven’t, those are in fact things that people say. I’m sure we’ve all seen or heard of those t shirts that say things like ‘Weird is just a side effect of being awesome’ or ‘I’m not weird. I’m limited edition’ and other things along those lines. And if you haven’t seen them, those are in fact t shirts that exist and I very much do not like them!! People seem to think that being ‘weird’ makes them special or is viewed as a negative trait. Which completely contradict each other! However, I disagree with both of those views. To go along with what everyone says (even though I don’t want to), everyone is weird. But also, everyone is normal.
I think everyone has their own perception of normal, even though we may not actually know what it is and have probably never met anyone that holds these qualities, because everyone just turns out to be weird. Because here’s the thing, everyone has their own quirks, everyone is different and I don’t believe that society even has a particular model of a person that would be perceived as normal, solely because there would be no point in that, as everyone has their own views on what is weird and what is normal.
I think that what we mean in saying someone is weird, is that they are different. I don’t necessarily consider myself to be ‘weird’ because I am me, and my thoughts and the way my body and my brain works is all I’ve known. Similarly, I wouldn’t consider my family and the way we operate to be weird, because these are the surroundings in which I’ve grown up and it has formed my perception of normal. Therefore I would then consider other people and other families who possess different qualities, values and ways, to be… weird. But despite me not necessarily viewing myself as weird, I am perfectly aware of the fact that others may view me as weird because I know that I am different from them. So, I know I’m weird. But.. I’m also not.
The point I’m trying to get at is that everyone is weird, but for that very reason, no one is. If the word means something unusual, strange or odd, then saying that everyone is unusual, strange or odd should mean that everyone is in fact… normal, because being weird becomes the norm. That is I think what’s happened with the word, because it gets used so much and so often for literally everything, weird has become normal, and I think it has just completely lost it’s meaning.
So… I don’t think that anyone should ever feel worried or concerned about being called weird, or being perceived as weird. I don’t think weird should be used as an insult. Nor should it be used as a compliment. Because really it doesn’t mean much…
I think I’ve gone of on quite a weird tangent here and I’m not sure I’ve even said everything I wanted to say, but oh well. I think we should all just return to using the word weird meaning fate. That would be fun.
Hopefully you’ve seen/heard the word weird so much now that you never want to use it again hahaha! Honestly I’m surprised (and slightly impressed) at how deep I’ve looked into and thought about a simple word. I guess that’s my brain for you.
Anyway, bye for now.