The Word on the Street Is . . . Super

Word on the Street

Superman, super-califragilisticexpiali-docious, and super-duper—they were all part of my childhood vocabulary. But super on its own was reserved for moments of snarkiness, like when I’d stumble downstairs as a sleepy teen, and my mom would say, “You look terrible. Did you sleep OK?”

And I’d grumble back, “Just super.”

Of course, there was my overly keen sex ed. teacher, Mr. Horkoff, who would exclaim “That’s super!” every time someone actually answered one of his way-too-personal and probing questions. I never knew if he was being enthusiastic or just sarcastic.

After more than a decade in Montreal, I now catch myself blurting out “That’s super!” and meaning it. Part of me still shudders when I hear it used as an adverb and no emphasis is needed, like super beautiful, super cool, super awesome, super sexy, and super fantastic.

But for Anglos and Francos in Montreal, overuse of super is, well, super normal.

What’s so super about super, anyway?

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