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Fierce

adjective; analogy
great, fabulous Similar to words denoting time and space, the new meaning of fierce likely came from a metaphorical shift relating the extra intensity associated with both words. Great and fabulous, of course, describe that which is above average; fierce has been known to have the meaning ‘unrestrained zeal or violence.’ Thus, the sort of ‘over-the-topness’ of both words would explain the link, and the shift. It should be noted this is a newly-formulated hypothesis, though, and would need a great deal more research. Though fierce with its new meaning is now common in ‘trendy’ groups, i.e. models, actors, etc., it, too, seems to have its roots in the gay community. This adds another element tied to its new meaning—those who are fierce are likely better able to survive and perhaps more ideal. Considering the respect this community gives to its ‘fabulous,’ it makes sense the two words may have become linked, explaining the reason for the shift.
 
That walk was so fierce, I'm gonna give it a SNAP!
Etymology : The original fierce is descended in the 14th century from the Middle English fiers, which came through Middle French from the Latin ferus, meaning ‘wild and savage.’ Some ties have been made to the Greek ther, referring to a wild animal.
Source : Tyra Banks, America's Next Top Model
Last modified: 10 June 2008


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