Thursday, August 18, 2005

It's A Mystery

We're having a company potluck luncheon tomorrow. In order to avoid the "everyone brought dessert" problem, there's a sign-up sheet. When someone really is unsure of what to bring, they usually put down don't know yet, not sure, or something similar. However, I noticed something odd today. One person listed their item as mystery. Now, this is just odd since the word mystery carries a negative connotation when used in the context of food. But, that's not the point of this post.

So, after seeing this, it occurred to me that mystery can have a positive, neutral, or negative connotation, depending on the context. Mystery meat is clearly negative. When used in most contexts, the word is neutral. And, the word can even have a slightly positive connotation such as in the phrase, man of mystery.

I haven't thought about this much at all, but what other words can be positive, neutral, or negative? It doesn't seem that words that possess this trait are all that common.

3 comments:

Jim Tran said...

Actually, the meanings and connotations of most adjectives are highly contextual. For example: "fat check"/"fat chick" or "shady tree"/"shady motives".

Duke said...

Damn Jim, you're bad!

Brute Force said...

As I was saying to Jim earlier... there are definitely positive/negative uses, but I wasn't so sure about those that had purely neutral usages too. I suppose shady could be all three. Though, I am not so sure about fat and bad.

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