Old words, new meanings (March 21)


When did the definitions change on the words hack and trap? So what does it mean to hack or better yet, what is a hack? I remember the term political hack. And I know what it means when someone hacks into one’s computer. But now I am hearing the term used in a hair color commercial and I saw it in a magazine recently talking about “hacks” to clean your home.
I’m confused. How did this word get turned around and everyone seems to get it? I remember that a taxi used to be called a hack. So I grabbed my handy hardcopy dictionary to see what was the official definition of the word hack. I found out that hack can be a noun, verb or an adjective. As a noun, hack is a short dry cough, restriction to quarters as punishment for naval officers, creative solution to computer hardware or a programming problem or limitation. Or a hack can be a cab driver, a light easy saddle horse, a person who works solely for mercenary reasons or a writer who works solely for commercial success. You can hack something which means to cut or sever with repeated strokes, to gain access to a computer illegally. And a hack can mean you are working for hire with mediocre professional standards. Perhaps here they are describing the political hack.
I still did not understand why you would want to call the hair color the “newest hair color hack.” I did some research on the use of this word and it goes back as far as 2014. Where have I been, why am I just noticing this?
So what about the word trap or “trapping?” According to Wikipedia trap music is a subgenre that originated during the 1990s from Southern Hip-Hop in the Southern United States. It is typified by its ominous lyrics and sound that incorporates double or triple-time sub-divided hi-hats, heavy kick drums from a Roland TR-808 synthesizer, layered synthesizers, and “cinematic” strings. Now we know what trap music is, how about trapping? I have heard some of my young associates say they are going trapping. Is that like shopping? Well, the slang word trap has numerous definitions, but is mostly used to refer to any place where drugs are being exchanged. “Oh no.” A trap can be anywhere, it can be an open spot where cops don’t frequent or a house which dealers typically refer to as a trap house. None of this sounds familiar to me. I used to think the word trap meant to catch something or to set a trap like for a mouse or a bear and I thought trappings were clothes or accessories. Perhaps trapping can also mean “going out to catch stuff” like clothes or drinks or whatever.
One thing I know is you have to stay up to date on this new slang. I don’t want to use an old word around new people in the wrong way.
(Email Debbie at debbienorrell@aol.com.)
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