國中英語基測出現過 we 的考題。

Did you know the meaning of a word may change over time? Many English words we know now had different meanings a long time ago. One example is the word nice.

Around the year 1300, nice was first used in English to meanstupid.’ Two hundred years later, nice began to carry abettermeaning. If people said a book was written nicely, they meant the book was writtenclearly’ orcarefully,’ notstupidly.’ After 1800, nice began to take its modern meanings likekind’ orfriendly.’ Since then, people have thought of nice as a word withgoodmeanings.

Agoodchange of a word’s meaning like this example of nice is called AMELIORATION. Though we don’t use nice to meanstupid’ anymore, it is fun to know how much a word’s meaning can change from its start!


For more examples of AMELIORATION, see next page.

meaning 意思;意義
1.
Here are four sentences from the Word Museum. Which is most likely to appear on the next page?
likely 可能
The word telephone is cut short to phone, but the two words mean the same thing.
The word terrific used to meanterrible,’ but now it meansexcellent.’
The word girl used to meana young person,’ but now it meansa young woman.’
The word silly used to meanhappy,’ but now it meansstupid.’
2.
What can we learn about the word nice?
It was used to talk about an important person around 1800.
It still keeps its old meaning that was used around 1300.
It was first used in English around 1100.
It started to meanclear’ around 1500.