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2 Comments

  • Another fine example is attitude, which in isolation mostly means ‘bad attitude’, though it was originally neutral. Much older is the similar transition of luck and fortune to the positive side, unless specifically qualified: hence the country-music line “If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.”

  • Thanks, John – those are good examples of the same sort of thing. Luck in isolation can be negative, too, as in “Just my luck” (though that might be better considered simple irony). The C&W line reminds of the saying “No news is good news”, but it isn’t quite analogous.