beginning to reclaim the word tremendous

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people ruin things for me; whether it be restaurants, boots, wearing the color white, my initials, scripture, games… It rubs me the wrong way. A few years ago I decided I was done with the seemingly irredeemable and contentiously started reclaiming certain areas of my life. I reclaimed places I went with an ex, started wearing boots again, began looking more critically at scripture, and started this blog. Reclaiming is a part of my process and journey in life.

This post is almost a week late, but better late than never. The below is something I tweeted during the second Presidential Debate. Mr. Donald Trump, I don’t even want to go into my feelings about him and sexual assault right now, kept using the word tremendous.

After watching Trump in two debates, countless speeches and parodies (nailed it Alec Baldwin), I realized during the last debate that perhaps the word tremendous needed to be reclaimed because whenever I hear the word now I cringe.

But what does tremendous really mean? I felt so gaslighted by Trump I had to look it up to double check.

 very large or great or very good or excellent

Merriam-Webster

Or…

a combination between horrendous and terrible

Urban Dictionary

I feel that America is associating tremendous with the less classical definition aka the one from the always delightful Urban Dictionary.

However, proper uses of the word are as follows:

  1. He has a tremendous amount of energy.

  2. The engine’s power is tremendous.

  3. She is a writer of tremendous talent.

  4. We had a tremendous time.

Merriam-Webster

Trump when speaking seems to use tremendous about himself in the Merriam-Webster sense of the word, but factually, he probably should be using the Urban Dictionary form of the word. He isn’t a very good or excellent politician, his businesses aren’t doing excellent, and his morals are horrendous and terrible. Yet, he keeps saying he and the things he does is so very tremendous.

So how do we stop cringing when the word is used in vain? Does reclamation need to wait until after November 8th? Or maybe we need to start using it more. Here are some of my attempts of reclaiming tremendous.

  • Hillary Clinton is a tremendous politician.
  • The work that Hillary Clinton has done has tremendously helped women in America and all over the global community.
  • Hillary Clinton will be a tremendous President.

It feels pretty good reclaiming it, but at the same time, tremendous is such a great word that maybe it should be used sparingly. How would you reclaim tremendous?

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