Watching words lose their origin



You think motorcycles are a thing of the past?


Ones with kick starters are.


perhaps “diverge from their origin” ?

cf “dialing a number” and “calling a friend”

Or, I suppose the word-object could have been unlinked from its parent, or had the origin-pointer dereferenced. That could be problematic. Let’s just hope our language is not null-terminated, either…


I wonder if my 7 year old will think Motley Crue is singing about fundraising.

Probably more like wondering why those ugly women with the bad haircuts are jumping all around the stage like that.


i’d be surprised if your kid knows (or cares) who motley crüe even is!


This was literally the first time I’ve ever heard anyone associated with that band (other than Odean, of course).

I think it is great when words “lose” their origins. It liberates them from the incidental details of the original usage.

But I may also be the only person who thinks we should have kept the floppy disk as the “save” symbol until nobody remembers what those things were and it is perceived as fully abstract.


OK sorry, can anyone explain? What word? What origin?

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Hi @gilgongo, if a topic appears empty or confusing - there’s probably a video you can’t see on the BBS. Just follow the (really small) link provided to the original Boing Boing entry to see the vid. Here the link says:

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

That should help.


They do if you are parenting right.

(I kid, I kid. Not a big hair band fan. KMFDM, however…)

I can’t watch the video now, but I do have a few pet words whose alterations have bothered me. For one, decimation is only 10% of something destroyed/killed. But now it means something much worse.

And of course the word “regulation” in the 2nd Amendment has the old use meaning something in proper working order, well drilled, has their shit together - not something that is controlled by a bunch of laws.


You, sir, have forgotten how to RAWWWWWWWWWWWWWK.


Don’t follow motorcross much do you?

Here’s one that’s become fully abstract.


Thanks Catgrin, it does feel like I can’t see something. The link you quote just takes me back to the entry. Oh well, none the wiser. See ya.

The main entry is where you should be going.

The vid is Motley Crue singing “Kickstart my Heart”. You might be missing the one-line joke “I wonder if my 7 year old will think Motley Crue is singing about fundraising.” under it. This happens sometimes when vids are part of a post.

We’ll figure it out. It is certainly something we’ve noted. Its extra weird when the post is meant for the discussion.

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I guess the author assumes we all know the titles of Motley Crue songs. The author assumes wrongly.

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I’d be surprised if many people who weren’t already familiar with the song would even realize he was using the word “kickstart” in that video, it’s pretty hard to make out with that slurred nasal style he has and “kickstart” is an unusual enough expression that it’s not the first thing that comes to mind when you hear some ambiguous words…I thought it was “can’t stop my heart” until I googled some lyrics.

[quote=“catgrin, post:10, topic:41380, full:true”]This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

That should help.
[/quote]If he can’t see it on the BBS, he also probably can’t see it on the normal page (due to adblockers/noscipt/etc.). Instead of just pointing him back to another blank page, you could have just told him that “It’s a video of a song called ‘Kickstart My Heart’” … shorter, more informative, and no link-clicking required.