Monday, February 21, 2011

Wicked good, awesome, bad, and indifferent

Recent article about the current use of "wicked" in New England including these thoughts on its history:

Why wicked to begin with? Page explained that he often uses it, saying something was “wicked good,” or “wicked cool.” And since he specialized in distressed finishes, he thought of “wicked old.” “My logo used to have a little witch going through it,” he said.

The word often is used as a substitute for “very” or “really,” providing emphasis to another word.

“Given the kind of religious and Puritan past of New England, oftentimes there was a kind of social disapproval of using curse words,” said professor David Watters, director of the Center for New England Culture at the University of New Hampshire. “So, you’d get a lot of creative, non-cursing, and I think ‘wicked’ fell into that category. Sometimes you hear people say ‘hellish’ instead of ‘wicked.’ ”

Watters said he believes the expression originated in Northern New England and became more popular throughout the rest of New England in the last 20 years or so.

New Englanders ‘wicked’ cool with their word