Monday, March 16, 2020

SOL20 Day 16 - The Word Nerd Visits Again!

Slice of Life Story Challenge 2020 -- Day 16
March 16, 2020
"The Word Nerd Visits Again!"

The Word Nerd in me is coming out again! This evening I am obsessing focusing on the word "unprecedented". Why? Because I'm a Word Nerd! Words make me think.

"Unprecendented" is a word which I have heard, I think, more times in the past week than in all the years that I have been alive. I've heard the word probably a dozen times just while watching the news in the past hour! It is a very good word. It is an important word. It is the perfect word to describe what is happening in the world currently!


Is there not any other word that says what we want to say, that expresses the thought just as well?

The thesaurus says that there are synonyms:


and there are related words:
innovated, unique
non-traditional, unconventional, untried, unused, unworn,
pathbreaking, pioneering, trailblazing.


None of those words quite describes the world's current situation better than "unprecedented" does. "Unheard-of" comes close to the meaning we want, I think. But is it enough? Will people start saying "unheard-of" instead, when everyone gets tired of hearing "unprecedented?"

It reminds me of a situation a few months ago, when the phrase "quid pro quo" was constantly on the news and in many conversations. I knew many people who were sick of hearing that phrase, and groaned when they heard it again and again and again! I was one of those people.

And n
ow suddenly I'm wondering...

     ...this mind-boggling thought: 

Is "unprecedented" the new "quid pro quo?"

JudyK   March 16, 2020


  1. I love this - I'm a word-nerd too.

  2. Your word-nerd slice is so much fun! It would also be great to show kids when we talk about connotation and why you cannot just slap any old work from the thesaurus into your writing. Certainly, "unheard-of" has the right connotation, and maybe "strange" or "unaccustomed" could be used in these circumstances. However, we certainly would not want to hear someone talk about all the "trailblazing" or "novel" issues and restrictions we're experiencing!

    1. That's an idea I hadn't thought of! Thanks for sharing! :-)

  3. I'm a word nerd too. One of my favorite things to do with my students was WOW, word of the week. There's nothing to capture our current situation quite like unprecedented does, is there? Novel (as in new) was one of our word of the weeks early in the year. I commented recently that today's students would have no trouble with that meaning of novel since we hear novel coronavirus all the time.


Comments are welcomed, and very much appreciated! :-)