25 Original Word Meanings That Will Surprise You

by Kim Boateng Last updated on April 9th, 2018,

It is hard to imagine that a word like “awful” once met something closer to “awesome” than “terrible,” but if you think about it and break it down, it kind of makes sense – awe/full or in other words “full of awe.” These are 25 original word meanings that will surprise you!

25

Manufacture

blacksmith

Source: wiktionary

Current meaning – to mass produce with machinery

Original meaning – create by hand

24

Doom

gavel

Source: wiktionary

Current meaning – an unhappy destiny

Original meaning – a law or ordinance

23

Last

mountain

Source: wiktionary

Current meaning – final

Original meaning – highest

22

Protest

declaration

Source: wiktionary, Image: commons.wikimedia.org (public domain: author’s life + 100 yrs)

Current meaning – show disapproval

Original meaning – make a solemn declaration

21

Hilarity

joy

Source: wiktionary, Image: pixabay.com (public domain)

Current meaning – boisterous merriment

Original meaning – calm joy

20

Bully

20

Source: wiktionary, Image: pixabay.com (public domain)

Current meaning – a person who is habitually cruel to others

Original meaning – a fine chap

19

Radical

basic

Source: wiktionary, Image: commons.wikimedia.org (public domain: threshold of originality not met)

Current meaning – very different from the usual

Original meaning – fundamental

18

Pretty

ninja

Source: wiktionary

Current meaning – attractive

Original meaning – sneaky

17

Guy

scary clown

Source: wiktionary, Image: www.publicdomainpictures.net (public domain)

Current meaning – a man

Original meaning – a person of grotesque appearance

16

Brave

showy

Source: wiktionary, Image: pixabay.com (public domain)

Current meaning – having courage

Original meaning – showy

15

Egregious

thumbs up

Source: wiktionary

Current meaning – really bad

Original meaning – really good

If you’re enjoying this post, be sure to take a look at 25 Interesting and Somewhat Strange Word Origins.

14

Nervous

strong

Source: wiktionary, Image: pixabay.com

Current meaning – anxious

Original meaning – strong

13

Pedant

teacher

Source: wiktionary, Image: commons.wikimedia.org (public domain)

Current meaning – someone who shows off their knowledge

Original meaning – a male schoolteacher

12

Garble

sift

Source: wiktionary

Current meaning – to alter or distort

Original meaning – to sift

11

Evil

conceited

Source: wiktionary

Current meaning – morally reprehensible

Original meaning – uppity

10

Awful

awesome

Source: wiktionary

Current meaning – terrible

Original meaning – amazing (awe/full)

9

Nice

foolish

Source: wiktionary

Current meanning – kind

Original meaning – foolish

8

Sad

smile

Source: wiktionary, Image: commons.wikimedia.org (public domain: ineligible for copyright)

Current meaning – affected by grief

Original meaning – content

7

Artificial

new skills

Source: wiktionary, Image: pixabay.com (public domain)

Current meaning – contrived

Original meaning – skillful

6

Facetious

good manners

Source: wiktionary

Current meaning – inappropriately joking

Original meaning – well mannered

5

Nuisance

explosion

Source: wiktionary, Image: commons.wikimedia.org (public domain)

Current meaning – annoying or unpleasant

Original meaning – injurious or harmful

4

Sophisticated

totally unnatural

Source: wiktionary, Image: pixabay.com (public domain)

Current meaning – very complicated

Original meaning – unnatural

3

Stupid

wow

Source: wiktionary, Image: pixabay.com (public domain)

Current meaning – slow of mind

Original meaning – amazed

2

Passenger

hiker

Source: wiktionary, Image: www.pexels.com (public domain)

Current meaning – a traveler in a vehicle

Original meaning – someone traveling by foot

If you enjoyed this post, check out 25 Words You Are Probably Saying Wrong.

1

Angel

messenger

Source: wiktionary

Currently means – a messenger that acts on behalf of a higher being

Original meaning – any hired messenger

Photos: 25. Hans Splinter via flickr, 24. Chris Potter via flickr, 23. Retouched by Papa Lima Whiskey 2 via wikimedia commons/ photo original by shrimpo 1967 via flickr, 18. Joey Gannon via flickr, 15. Sarah Reid via flickr, 12. Grand Canyon National Park via flickr, 11. quotes everlasting via flickr, 10. Selena N. B. H. via flickr, 9. Quinn Dombrowski via flickr, 6. Sharon Sinclair via flickr, 1. Antonio Foncubierta via flickr

Author

Kim Boateng

Kim Boateng

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