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Definition Activity

October 9, 2012

Redefine the term “bad”


What I know

  • general meaning of the word
  • different meaning on Xbox Live
  • used as a term to express anger – “you’re bad”
  • used as an adjective in both normal and the context of Xbox Live
  • usually said when outplayed – meaning that the other person is in fact superior and not “bad”
  • often said by the younger audience

What I want to know

  • how else can the term “bad” be applied in different contexts
  • information about the formation of this meaning

From → Uncategorized

  1. Hi Quresh,

    This really got me thinking — especially because, as you note, bad can sometimes signal the opposite of its intended meaning. (i.e., In some circles, bad can have a similar meaning to cool, or it can work like a shortened form of badass, etc.) I’d be interested to know when this shift in usage began happening, and among which communities. I suspect you’re onto something with gaming culture here, in that regard.

    This also makes me think about gatherings where people purposely watch bad movies — because, ironically, they find the badness enjoyable. (I remember an episode of Community in which the characters gathered in Abed’s dorm to watch cheesy, horribly made movies, just so they could make wisecracks about them.) Also, this makes me think of Michael Jackson’s “I’m Bad” and George Thorogood’s “Bad to the Bone.”

    So… I wonder if irony might be enwrapped in your (re)definition of bad? Or are you hoping to take a different approach?

  2. Hey Quresh,

    I think that it is good that you have added a particular focus on a very common and wide spread word bad. I think I would like to know the etymology of the word bad. I would also like to know how bad is applicable socially other than through xbox live. I think if I was writing this paper I would add your view on Xbox as it is a personal view and then two other social contexts just so I could get a very well rounded view on the word bad. I think I would use a casual tone when describing the word bad through your video game experience and other possible social contexts of the word. I also think I would invoke a personal story for the word bad and how it has affected you through videogames and possibly other social media.

    There are some other social contexts that you could possibly view the word bad in. One such context is the Michael Jackson hit song and video entitled bad. Another possible way to view the word bad is through economics

  3. Hey Quresh, i like the word you have chosen “bad”. Besides xbox, where else is the word commonly used? When i think of the word bad, i also think of badass, and how the word “bad” can also mean cool in some contexts. I think you should explore on the different meanings and uses of the word. Also, i think different generations might have different meanings for the word. you can also talk about how seriously or lightly the word can be used. There are so many uses of the word!

    here is the use of word in a song
    it also has a different meaning than the traditional “bad”

    also, here are some modern day uses of the word!

    hope this helps! best of luck

  4. Hi Quresh. I thought it was interesting how you listed that Xbox has a different meaning for bad. Usually, going with the general audience, when someone says “bad”, I think of an unacceptable person (usually teenagers). Another way bad can be used in a different context is something that is rotten or spoiled and not good anymore (this usually associates with food). I think it would be cool if you could list in your paper the different uses of bad, such as if it is used as a noun, pronoun, adjective, etc. and then list the various definitions for each verb usage. If I was the reader, I would like to know the general meaning of the word bad and where it originally came from. Did the word bad have a background where someone created it to mean something? Since not many people know that Xbox has a different definition from the general use of bad, I think that it would be interesting and cool if you wrote part of your paper in personal narrative form where when you were playing Xbox, you used the word bad. Then, you should go off from that talking about the many different definitions of bad and what you interpreted as being the right definition. Since the word bad has so many definitions, I think it should be mostly a research paper with a touch of a personal narrative in the beginning!

    Here are good links to look at:

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