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.


Anonymous said...

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

Anonymous 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.