Pagan and villain are good persons?

Status
Not open for further replies.
H

Hong Kong Chinese

Guest
It is very stange that originally both pagan and villain means those who live in the village, but now they have shifted to other meanings. How come? Some guess that it is because, in the old days, words were coined by noble who looked down village people!
 

Tdol

Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
Japan
'Nice' used to mean 'stupid'. Mount Everest used to be at the bottom of the ocean. ;-)
 

MikeNewYork

VIP Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
Academic
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
Hong Kong Chinese said:
It is very stange that originally both pagan and villain means those who live in the village, but now they have shifted to other meanings. How come? Some guess that it is because, in the old days, words were coined by noble who looked down village people!

Interesting observation. :wink:
 

Tdol

Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
Japan
The nobles had little to do, so they were free to invent insults for there serfs. ;-(
 

MikeNewYork

VIP Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
Academic
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
tdol said:
The nobles had little to do, so they were free to invent insults for there serfs. ;-(

Now we've changed "serfs" for "unwashed masses". :wink:
 

Tdol

Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
Japan
We say the 'great unwashed'. ;-)
 

Tdol

Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
Japan
Even if they don't.:)
 

Casiopea

VIP Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2003
Member Type
Other
Hong Kong Chinese said:
It is very stange that originally both pagan and villain means those who live in the village, but now they have shifted to other meanings. How come? Some guess that it is because, in the old days, words were coined by noble who looked down village people!

I believe the term for that is pejorative. :)
 

MikeNewYork

VIP Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
Academic
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
Hong Kong Chinese said:
Yes I should have stolen The Da Vinci Code's thunder. It was his observation!

I haven't read it, but I know many who have. :wink:
 

RonBee

Moderator
Joined
Feb 9, 2003
Member Type
Other
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
Hong Kong Chinese said:
It is very stange that originally both pagan and villain means those who live in the village, but now they have shifted to other meanings. How come? Some guess that it is because, in the old days, words were coined by noble who looked down village people!

It is true that the meanings of words evolve over time due to various influences. The word villain is one example of that. The nobles did not, I think, coin the word villain, but they did, apparently, use it in a disparaging way. After all, they looked down on the poor villagers, who were, after all, not nobles. :wink:

(Say: "It is very strange that originally both pagan and villain meant....")

:)
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top