The meaning of words can often change over time. Here are 11 words and what they used to mean, according to Oxford Living Dictionaries.
Meat initially meant any piece of food. In addition to animal flesh, the word "meat" is still used to refer to the edible part of a nut.
Fathom originally referred to embracing someone with outstretched arms. It is from this origin that we get one of the definitions of the word, a unit of length used to measure water, about one arm span.
Now often used to refer to an array of figures in rows and columns, matrix used to refer to a mother or womb. From this stems another current definition of matrix: a social or political environment in which something develops.
Bully came from a Middle Dutch word meaning lover. It used to be a term of affection applied first to either gender and later to a male friend — until the 17th century when it became used as a word for someone who harasses or ridicules others.
A bachelor used to mean a knight who didn’t belong to an order or organization, leading to the modern definition of an unmarried man.
While literally still denotes that something is true in a literal or exact sense, it also has been given the informal meaning in many dictionaries of being used for emphasis while not being literal.
Girl originally meant a child of either gender.
Nice used to mean ignorant or stupid.
The word silly used to mean innocent or feeble or helpless and from there developed into meaning foolish or absurd.
Clue used to be a variant of the word clew, meaning a ball of thread. The idea of using a ball of thread to guide someone out of a labyrinth led to its current meaning of a piece of information or evidence.
Myriad now means a great number of things, but it used to mean exactly 10,000.