Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Are we crazy, or has "myriad" been resurrected as the go-to faux-sophisticate buzzword? You know, smart-sounding words that stupid people use to make themselves sound, you know, smart. Like "proactive" and "paradigm" were years ago.
When we first noticed people using the term, it was a noun: "A myriad of issues plagues the Middle East," "Single mothers not only face the myriad of concerns all parents must face, but also a myriad of others" "The tasks entailed with embalming a small child are no small myriad."
Now it's more popular as an adjective: "Myriad issues plague the Middle East," "Single mothers not only face the myriad concerns all parents must face, but also myriad others," "The myriad tasks entailed with finding a small child to embalm."
We view this trend favorably, as it's more concise to say "myriad x" than "a myriad of x," but we wonder how much further "myriad" will develop. Will it mutate into a verb? Will people tire of its use and leave it to languish?
Our guess is that will follow "decimate": Once it came into popular use, it became cooler to get all etymological in people's faces. In decimate's case this meant pointing out that "decimate" means "reduce by one tenth"; with myriad we should expect a lot of smart-alecks sneering, "Oh? Exactly ten thousand issues plague the Middle East?"
It's a mad, mad, mad, mad, mad word.