How Words change their Meaning

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I’m always interested in how words change their meaning – especially when it’s a downgrade. Take the word “mentor”, for example. There was a time when this referred to someone (usually an elder) in your community who you could get alongside because they were quietly wise, authoritative, learnéd and knowledgeable. You didn’t have to pay them a cent for they regarded it as their duty to pass on their accumulated understanding via apprenticeship to the next generation. That was in the days when success was measured by wisdom and laudable achievement. Now the term is just an Americanism, whereby a mentor is some slick motivational salesperson who you pay to boost your ego and tell you that you are the best (even if you are not), control you and goad you into making loads of money and becoming a big shot, because in the USA success is measured not by your wisdom and acumen but by how much money you make and how much of a “celebrity” you are. Words change. Times change. And the downward spin of civilisation continues…

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