There’s a Word for That: Umbrageous

atkins-bookshelf-wordsThe word umbrageous has two meanings: the first, “forming shade or shady;” however, it is the second meaning that is more interesting and relevant to the world today: “easily offended or upset.” The word is derived from the Old French umbrageux, from umbre, meaning “shade,” and the Latin umbra, meaning “shade or shadow.” Related to this word is “umbrage:” to take umbrage at a comment, is to be offended.

This past year, especially in the midst of America’s most turbulent, hostile, and divisive presidential campaign, the internet has been buzzing with stories about people and groups who were offended (sometimes legitimately, of course) by what someone said, tweeted, or wrote. It would be quite challenging to find a single story or editorial on the internet where some reader, in the comments section, expressed that he or she was very offended by the writer’s words or ideas. In today’s world — swarming with racism, homophobia, misogyny, sexism, extreme political correctness, Trumpisms, etc. — it is not surprising that people are truly hypersensitive to anything that could be perceived offensive — even when it was never intended to be. That is to say, that even the most simple, deferential, seemingly innocuous sentence will offend some reader. Perhaps we can conclude that an unintended consequence of the rapid dominance of the Internet was that it ushered in the Age of Umbrageousness.

Read related posts: There’s a Word for That: Esprit de l’escalier
There’s a Word for That: Jouissance
There’s a Word for That: Abibliophobia
There’s a Word for That: Petrichor
There’s a Word for That: Deipnosophist
There’s a Word for That: Pareidolia
There’s a Word for That: Macroverbumsciolist
There’s a Word for That: Ultracrepidarian
There’s a Word for That: Cacology


Join the conversation

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: