Illustrating the changing nature of language can be as fun and easy as embarrassing the heck out of your teenager by using “groovy” while her friends are around. (Or even just threatening to.)
Newly-minted Hugo Award winner Mary Robinette Kowal has gone a bit further in crafting the sequel to her Nebula Award-nominated Shades of Milk and Honey — by building a Jane Austen word list for her book (set in 1815) and using it as a spellcheck to flag any words in her draft which didn’t exist at the time.
Sometimes the word did [exist], but meant something different. “Blink” for instance, at the time meant to look through half-lidded eyes, or to open the eyes as if upon waking. The action we mean by it… “nictate.” Yeah… Not so much with the “She nictated at him.“
So when Glamour in Glass comes out next year, don’t be surprised when nobody’s eerily harrumphing over the meaningful interplay on a manhunt.
In the meantime, why not read Kowal’s Hugo-winning short story, “For Want of A Nail?”
It’s totally gnarly.