Bosom, breast, hell.
Titters erupted as each of these words were uttered as we began our study of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Not everyone laughed. Some remained quiet, but eyes grew large. You could see the wheels turning behind those eyes, wondering if these were bad words. I almost laughed as I interrupted two girls arguing over whether or not virgin was a cuss word. Really???
Words have changed meaning within my lifetime. When I was young we didn’t wear flip flops, we wore thongs, but I never use that term because it has taken on a whole new meaning.
Several years ago, I was discussing My Side of the Mountain with a lit circle. They giggled when Jean Craighead George wrote about the crotch of a tree. They only knew one meaning of the word crotch and it was another unmentionable.
I recently learned that troll no longer refers to a mythical being or a person who sows discord on the Internet. It is also an adjective for a bad thing, as in That test was really troll. Who knew? There are fairies in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but no trolls. The closest thing to a troll in Shakespeare, is Caliban from The Tempest. I wonder what Will would make of these evolutions of the English language?