Editor’s note: Sixth in a 10-part series on physical, mental, relational, and spiritual health.
Crush used to be a downer word: “I was crushed when my son’s report card came out.” Perhaps you think of crush as smashing a pop can or stepping on a spider, or what happens to your clothes in a suitcase, or backing into someone else’s car in a parking lot, or the young one-way romance (since Valentine’s Day just passed) most of us went through at one time. Well, time to step up your vocabulary!
In the last few years, a whole new meaning for the word “crush” has come into play. This is the sixth of great action verbs we’re exploring for several weeks, as found on my favorite cereal box, “Kashi.”
An online dictionary “The Free Dictionary” gives one current usage as “to succeed at something in a particularly impressive way. Often used in the past tense.” Example: “Wow she really crushed that exam.”
They give these other examples: “Her presentation for the CEO went really well. She totally crushed it!” Or, another: “That band always crushes it, so I’m not surprised their halftime performance was spectacular.”
Urban Dictionary (another online reference) defines the current usage of “crushed” as “Being in great shape, looking good, feeling positive, getting more done and generally being a better person.” Example: “She totally crushes that outfit!” Or maybe “Bryce so crushed that solo.”
I’ll confess I’m probably not young enough or hip enough (is “hip” even in anymore?) to use crush on a regular basis and not inclined to try to sound young by using such. Yet I kind of like the Urban Dictionary definition above: feeling positive, getting stuff done and done well.
Language changes. We used to refer to new words or uses as coining a phrase. Now, I see that that phrase itself is mostly used in a sarcastic fashion. The Cambridge Dictionary (again, online, sorry Mom), says that “to coin a phrase” is “something you say before using an expression that has been very popular or used too much.” Like this: “Well, to coin a phrase, she stopped me dead in my tracks.”
Some old words or expressions become archaic and new usages (such as turning nouns into verbs) is part of how we live in the 21st century. We’ll have to wait see whether “She crushed it” to describe a daughter’s role in a musical still works in 20 years. Or, thinking ahead to some early interests and recreation for our grandsons, “He totally crushed that 5k run” or “Wow, he crushed that pass!”
Some changes in language we resist, as we should. It’s good to keep up with changes, to be in the know, to be able to listen and communicate and relate. But we can choose or not choose to adopt new meanings or usages as we wish. Especially the vulgar.
Back to the best meanings of “crush” as positive feelings flowing, and knocking stuff off your to-do list. How will you rise to the task today or this week?
I’m definitely a list person. I’m the kind of woman who puts something on her list just so she gets the satisfaction of crossing it off. I like the old-fashioned paper and pencil (or pen) lists, although since those lists have a way of getting lost and buried, I have been known to take a picture of a list on my phone so that I’ll be sure to have it in the grocery store. I know I know, there are apps and functions on my phone where I can make notes to myself, but I’m a low app person.
Did I just coin a phrase? Nah, probably not.
But set out to enjoy your day. Rain in the forecast or not, set your goals high and you just might find yourself crushing through that list!
Did I “crush” this column? You tell me! I’m game whether positive or negative. Send stories or comments to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Another Way Media, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834.