Legitimate has many meanings. To be as simple as possible, the most identifiable synonym would be “genuine”.
Lately, legitimate has been shortened, like many other words, into a less syllabic form. This “word” is legit. Informal in nature, this recognized shortening should mean something close to “genuine”, right?
Legit appears to be taking the role of “cool” or “awesome” in wordsmithing. For example:
“I saw this street performer playing “Baby Got Back” on nothing more than 3 used shoes and a laundry bin. He was pretty legit.”
Was there any doubt that the guy in question was real? Although the story does sound a bit outlandish, I wasn’t under the impression that a ghost entered the mortal coil, became corporeal, and then played Sir-Mix-A-Lot’s hit single.
No, “legit” is becoming a catch all term for the not easily describable. It’s an empty shell of a word, finding refuge in those with nothing to say and a need to say it quickly and loudly. It’s a fad of 2010, much like those shaped rubber bands. While it’s modern and accepted to use it now, in a few years’ time no one will remember why it was so popular.
Yes, I’m too literal, yes, I’m a purist, yes, I’m too sensitive, yes, I’m not open to change, I got that. Your insults have been anticipated. But, really, if you’re going to misuse a word, could it at least be a unique word, and not a corruption of one that used to have meaning?
And, no, “clutch” doesn’t count.
Let Legit Die
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