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Dope, Dope, or Dope?
This will likely be the most dope paper ever written. Unless of course, the author is a complete dope and does not know how to write. Maybe it will be so bad that the reader will want to use dope to recover from the reading. So which one is it? Dope, dope, or dope? Over the years, many words go through transitions in their usage and meaning. The adjective dope serves as an excellent example of one of these such words. Who really even knows what it means anymore having gone through change after change depending on the era, user and situation as well as many other factors. Based off these various reasons, the word dope has taken on many different meanings over the years ranging from gravy, to stupid, to drugs, and the most recent definition being cool or awesome. As the time period shapes the word and redefines it, users should strive to use the most recent definition to prevent miscommunication. In this specific case, Dope should be redefined as a word to be used synonymously with awesome or cool to describe something as being really neat or impressive. Dope originally held the meaning in 1807 of describing a gravy or other viscous liquid coming from the Dutch word doopen, meaning “to dip.” The first ever official recording of the word in any form of dictionary or written ledger however was not until 1851 and carried a whole new meaning. At this time it was utilized as a form of American slang describing a silly or stupid person according to the Oxford English Dictionary A classic example of this usage occurs in the famous Disney movie Snow White in 1937 where one of the seven dwarves had the name Dopey remarking on his slow foolishness. During the time this definition was becoming less used, dope took on a completely new meaning. People began describing the act of doing drugs as doping. Since drugs seem to make individuals’’ foolish and silly it appears to fit extremely well. It served and still serves as a slang description of a nickname of any drug but more commonly heroin and marijuana. More recently, it has begun to include the use of any sort of athletic performance-enhancing drug in an athletic competition. An example of this can be seen with the Lance Armstrong blood doping scandal after winning the Tour de France.
Interestingly enough, Dope as well as describing drugs, is more commonly being used as slang and in conversation as an adjective to replace cool or awesome. This is the real new definition of the word that people need to understand. The word dope has gone through quite the journey of definitions over its lifetime, but the current definition is an adjective used to describe something extremely cool or exciting. One might think it to be befuddling or slightly questionable how a word can take on the exact opposite meaning it was intended for, but this is the case for many words at this time. Dope is just another word following the trend that is seen as anti-language or giving a bad word positive connotation such as “sick” or “fresh.” It is amazing to examine how the time period really shaped how it was used in conversation.
It is understandable that it would be tough to keep up with a word that takes on a new meaning every number of years, but people need to get current so they do not accidently use it with the wrong intentions. My aunt is one of these individuals that needs to get up to date. During a sailing race, my brother was making serious mistakes attempting to trim the sail which he usually manages to accomplish easily. She continually called him a “dope” on numerous occasions trying to tell him how stupid his sailing technique was. This would have made sense during her timeframe over fifty years ago, but in this current day setting the message was not delivered. To my brother, the word dope seemed to be a form of praise for his actions causing the boat to race well! He kept on doing the same mistakes over and over and my Aunt kept wondering why he was not learning! My Aunt thought she was calling him an idiot when in reality she was calling him cool! After the race they discovered their gap in communication. What a difference in connotation! This short story shows a good example of why individuals need to work to stay up to date on word meanings. The English language is constantly changing and in order to be able to fully communicate, one must know how the words currently are utilized.
While Merriam Webster Dictionary defines dope as “a stupid or annoying person,” there are many examples of how dope is currently used throughout different pieces of modern pop culture. In Macklemore’s recent hit song “Downtown,” he states in one line “Snuck her in backstage, you don't need a wristband, Dope.” In this setting, Macklemore uses the word dope to describe how cool it is that he could sneak in his girl into the backstage even without a wristband which is unheard of. Dope could be interchanged with the words cool or awesome, but maybe he wanted to show how current he is with his lyrics.
It seems to be the older generation that has an issue with keeping up with the changing language. This makes sense though; they grew up around a world where sick actually meant being ill and fresh actually meant smelling nice. So it must be hard to throw all of this old knowledge out and accept new information but it must be done. Just like the example above showed, there is a clear gap of communication between generations and it could someday turn into a much bigger issue than just a sailing race.

Works Cited
"Dope." Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster. Web. 21 Mar. 2016.
"Downtown Lyrics." MACKLEMORE LYRICS. Web. 21 Mar. 2016.
"The History of the Word 'dope.'" OxfordWords Blog. 2015. Web. 21 Mar. 2016.

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