17 February 2011

The Changing Meaning of Words

Yesterday I went to the cinema to see the film "The King's Speech" (which was really well done). During the course of the film, it kept striking me as odd to hear people constantly talking about the "wireless" which, when used in the early years of the twentieth century, referred to radio. This was to differentiate radio communication from telegraphy -- which was communication sent along actual wires strung up from one place to another.

Once radio stopped being a new thing, people just started calling it "radio" and stopped using "wireless."

Now, of course, the word "wireless" is back in vogue -- this time, referring to computing devices that are connected to their service providers or each other without the use of wires.

Interesting how a word can go out of fashion only to come back decades later meaning something entirely different.

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