The problem with language is that the damn thing just does not remain still. Just as you finish mucking around with the dictionary and the thesaurus, and start feeling smug about having found the meaning of a word, you find that someone has messed with it and it means altogether something else now. If it is just your neighborhood auntie, who thinks that 'homely' means someone who is good daughter-in-law material and not a euphemism for 'ugly', you can ignore her - until you find that the entire nation believes the same. The odds, though, are that not every such mistaken impression will cause you to curse the dictionary for misleading you. That complacency, however, is misplaced when it comes to journalists.
Of course, sometimes even they do not make a mark. There was once a concerted attempt to make 'rule the roast' stand in for what used to be 'rule the roost'. The culinary metaphor did not quite succeed in dethroning the poultry-based one, though, probably because it was still a male-dominated society in the eighties. If, however, you thought that every single such innovation bit the dust, you would be sorely mistaken.
Take for example the fact that, in India, 'wood' has been converted to mean 'film industry' (Anyway, since we are doing away with all the trees, the old meaning would be useless). The US has its Holly-film industry, we have our "Bolly', 'Molly', 'Tolly' etc. ones. I am quite thrilled, though, by the fact that the Internet spans the world. Left to our own devices, videos shared on Blogs would have become 'Bloggywood', a word that makes me retch - or am I being too hasty? Maybe that word is in the works and shall make an appearance soon in daily parlance giving me another reason to barf, besides motion sickness.
Of course there is a school of thought that says it actually is 'ollywood' that means film industry and you just add an alphabet before it to denote either the place or the language to derive the actual word for a specific film industry. USA, irrational as ever, may have added 'H' before the word, for no reason that anyone can fathom but we are more scientific. (WHAT? Hollywood is the name of the place from before there was a film industry there? I don't believe it)
Ever considered the word 'Breaking News'? Initially, it redefined the meaning of 'breaking' since it was rather loosely used even when the news was not so much 'breaking news' as 'broken news' - what was being touted as breaking news was probably hours old at least. So, if it was News, it was considered to also be 'Breaking'. Technology, though, made more things possible. As I found out when I sat in front of a TV with breathless journalists yelping "There is a car coming in" and a flashy scroller screaming "Breaking News: Car enters street. Which VIP is coming for Aishwarya-Abhishek wedding?". NOW - it is 'News' that has been redefined because, as you can see, IF it is breaking, it HAS to be News. Seems to me, though, that all journalists have gone to the same journalism school that taught ONLY one lesson - "News is telling people that Peter is dead, when they did not know or care that he ever lived."
The latest word I have had to learn is 'gate'. Apparently, it means 'scam' or 'scandal' but it cannot be used independently that way. It needs to be attached to some other word : Coal-gate (Warning: you use this one to whiten your teeth at your own risk); Bribe-gate etc. Way back in history, Nixon in the USA indulged in Water-gate - probably a scam related to bottled mineral water (WHAT? Breaking and Entering in an office complex called Watergate to eavesdrop on the opposition party? You must be joking!) From that day on, apparently, you are still permitted to use the word 'gate' to denote that thingy you push (or pull) to enter the compound of a house BUT the more appropriate use is to add it to some other word to talk of a scandal.
Alas! I forgot that thing about 'Freedom of Speech'. I have my freedom of speech but YOU do not have the freedom to question anything I say. THAT certainly does not constitute 'freedom of speech'. AND, sooner or later, I am sure that 'speech' will be expanded to mean HOW I speak in addition to WHAT I speak, thereby ensuring that you cannot question how I use words either.
Which means that I am probably likely to figure in 'Blog-gate' - unless, of course, I somehow manage to go viral on 'Bloggywood'. One way or the other, I shall be figuring in 'Breaking News'!