Zimmer on Fraught

Ben Zimmer’s NYT column this week is on fraught. This is one usage that sends me up a wall. I absolutely hate it when people use the word as an adjective meaning “distressed.” The descriptivist in me knows that the usage isn’t wrong—I’ve seen it often enough to realize that it is fully assimilated into the language. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

I am also surprised at the rapidity with which fraught-sans-with has caught on. It’s really been only the last decade that use of fraught in this way has skyrocketed. Which is probably why my reaction is so visceral; it’s still too new for me.

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