Awful, right? Essa e outras palavras em inglês que mudaram de significado

Assim como no português, com o tempo algumas palavras da língua inglesa adquirem novos usos no cotidiano

Você já percebeu que há palavras que vão mudando ou ampliando seu significado com o tempo?

Na Língua Portuguesa, temos exemplos como armário (que não é mais o lugar onde se guarda armas), brigadeiro, lanterninha, almofadinha etc.

Em inglês, acontece o mesmo.  Anne Curzan é escritora e professora da Língua Inglesa na University of Michigan, e estuda este tema: como o inglês muda com o tempo. Ela diz: “The English language is rich, vibrant and filled with the creativity of the people who speak it.”

Vamos ver seis exemplos listados por ela?

Awful

No passado, significava apenas “digno de reverência e admiração”.  Daí a expressão: The awful majesty of God.

Com o tempo, seu significado foi adquirindo conotação negativa, e hoje pode ser traduzido como “horrível, péssimo, terrível”.

Clue

Séculos atrás, clue (ou clew) era um novelo, ou um fio enrolado. A ideia aqui é que se alguém está em um labirinto e desenrola este novelo, vai encontrar o caminho de volta. O significado de clue, portanto, se tornou: “uma dica, uma pista para resolver um problema, enigma etc”

Bachelor

Bachelor era apenas um jovem cavaleiro. Depois, começou a significar também o título recebido por alguém que se graduou na universidade (usado até hoje: B.A. ou B.S. degrees).

E também se refere a um homem solteiro – mesmo que sem cavalo ou diploma universitário.

Senile

Antes era usado simplesmente como adjetivo para se referir a uma idade mais avançada. Hoje é um adjetivo que qualifica a demência causada pela idade.

Meat

A expressão “it is meat and drink to me” significa que algo é fácil e prazeroso. O antigo significado de “meat” não era carne animal, e sim “qualquer alimento sólido, comida em geral”. “Meat” nesta expressão é oposto de bebida.

Guy

Esta palavra é um epônimo (nome de um objeto,  atividade etc que também é nome da pessoa que primeiro produziu este objeto ou realizou a atividade) . Ex:

Achilles (Aquiles, mitologia grega) — Achilles’ heel (calcanhar de Aquiles)
Draco (legislador) – Draconian laws (leis draconianas)

Voltando ao Guy…

Guy vem de um homem chamado Guy Fawkes, que, segundo Anne Curzan, tentou explodir o Parlamento em 1605 e não conseguiu. Virou significado de “cara do mal” ou algo assim. Nos EUA, os americanos começaram a se referir a qualquer tipo de homem como “guy” e… pegou.

Quer saber mais sobre este tema? Pesquise textos e TedTalks da Anne Curzan.

ted.com/talks/anne_curzan_what_makes_a_word_real
dictionary.cambridge.org/pt/dicionario
inglesnosupermercado.com.br

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