General Question

elbanditoroso's avatar

Can we kill off the word 'preowned'?

Asked by elbanditoroso (32772points) 3 weeks ago
18 responses
“Great Question” (2points)

I keep seeing the word ‘preowned’ – referring to cars, books, shoes, almost anything.

The items are used. Sometimes used a lot.

Is ‘preowned’ just a euphemistic word to sound add two syllables and cover up the fact that the item is used?

don’t get me started on the word ‘gifting’

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janbb's avatar

I pretty much only see it in reference to cars which has been being done for quite a while. I think your crusade will not succeed.

jca2's avatar

For old furniture, I see “vintage” in addition to “used.” Sometimes clothing may be “vintage,” too. For clothing, they say “used” or “gently used.”

canidmajor's avatar

Nope. Probably not. Language is fluid, and obviously you understand what is meant. And the good news is that you probably won’t get corrected in casual conversation if you still say “used”.

ragingloli's avatar

Was there not a Simpsons episode, where Marge trained to become a real estate agent, and her trainer referred to a run down ruin as “rustic”?

JLeslie's avatar

No, because people like to come up with words that don’t sounds so negative. Used sounds negative. Just like favoring the word inexpensive over cheap.

Used is still ok to say for books, but for cars I think the preference is pre-owned. Fort clothing, if it is from a relative, it would be a hand-me-down. I think the word used is still used for clothing. Or, vintage if it is from another era.

SnipSnip's avatar

Sure…’s just a word to make a used item not seem like a used item.

seawulf575's avatar

When I bought my car is was “preowned”. But it was a year old and had less that 2,000 miles on it. It still had the majority of the factory warranty on it. That, to me, is okay. When you buy a car that has excessive miles it stops being pre-owned and becomes used…buyer beware.

Entropy's avatar

Can we stop using the term ‘alive’ and say ‘pre-dead’?

Caravanfan's avatar

How are you on the word “regifting”?

LostInParadise's avatar

Preowned is more descriptive than used.
Twice Sold Tales is a bookstore in Seattle.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Here’s my dictionary:

When you’re selling something it is called “Pre-owned.”
When you’re buying, it is “Used”
When it’s called “New In Box” NIB, it’s stolen.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@LuckyGuy NIB = stolen, I agree

Forever_Free's avatar

It’s way above my pay grade to kill off a word.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I suggest that you suggest that we murdalize the word. That might be more effective.

Jeruba's avatar

@CyanoticWasp, hi, it’s been a very long time!

I haven’t heard “murdalize” since the context was “My mother’s gonna murdalize me.”

I’ve disliked “preowned” since first hearing, but I find “to gift” many times more offensive, and “to regift” doubly so. How did that even come into use? I don’t use either of them.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

«looks at watch» «gasps» «looks at calendar»

It has been a while. Thanks for remembering.

It’s a progression of euphemisms. Once some critical mass of a linguistic population understands what the euphemism actually means, then it becomes objectionable because it actually carries the meaning … so we need a new euphemism. (I wonder if that holds in non-English speaking cultures, or if it’s unique to this language, and more particularly to American culture.)

For example, see how we’ve progressed from ‘buried’ to ‘laid to rest’ to ‘interred’. You can surely trace more of those than I can.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@CyanoticWasp welcome back . . . .friend.

Poseidon's avatar

The dictionary definition of ‘preowned’ or ‘pre-owned’ is:

Already used; second-hand

There is absolutely nothing wrong or incorrect if someone describes this term for an item which has been previously used, second-hand or no longer new.

I find it extremely helpful to know what condition an item is in prior to purchasing it.

Lets face it if I bought something I assumed was new and when it arrived found it was used and second-hand I would not be happy whereas if I saw the euphemism ‘pre-owned’ I would know that I was not new.

I would also want to know that if the item is pre-owned what the condition of it was. Was it in excellent, good condition or other.

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