Monday, May 04, 2009

Unique - A Mini Rant

I haven't done one of these in a while, so you deserve it. I've noticed that one of the words that shows up a lot in the marketing text for games is "unique". I.E. unique stuff, unique game play, unique interface. In the words of Fezzik, I do not think this word means what you think it means.

(Lifted ungraciously from Merriam-Webster Online)
Many commentators have objected to the comparison or modification (as by somewhat or very) of unique, often asserting that a thing is either unique or it is not. Objections are based chiefly on the assumption that unique has but a single absolute sense, an assumption contradicted by information readily available in a dictionary. Unique dates back to the 17th century but was little used until the end of the 18th when, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, it was reacquired from French. H. J. Todd entered it as a foreign word in his edition (1818) of Johnson's Dictionary, characterizing it as affected and useless. Around the middle of the 19th century it ceased to be considered foreign and came into considerable popular use. With popular use came a broadening of application beyond the original two meanings (here numbered 1 and 2a). In modern use both comparison and modification are widespread and standard but are confined to the extended senses 2b and 3. When sense 1 or sense 2a is intended, unique is used without qualifying modifiers.
See, you don't mean a unique sword. You mean a fairly unique sword. It's not one of a kind. It's just extra rare. Stop it. Btthbthhbt.

1 comment:

Scutr said...

Quit being a baby. XD