Nobody I know refers to my exploits and stories as incredible, but if they did, I would know that they would mean, as opposed to not really being that credible or credible-sounding. We now accept that ‘incredible’ is just so incredible that it has to be credible!
Doctors and patients refer to pain as incredible, adventurers refer to incredible feats of derring-do and strength and bravery, C-3P0 refers to incredible odds. and the president tells us that the challenges are incredible, but not impossible or insurmountable. That is, perhaps we shouldn’t believe him, but we should. At least the droid, (C3P0, not Barack Obama), may have still been using the word correctly.
The Hulk is Incredible, and we all certainly believe in him.
- Impossible to believe: “an incredible tale of triumph”.
- Difficult to believe; extraordinary: “the noise was incredible”
I’m all for defining words as they are held in common usage and, more importantly, practical understanding. If you demand that hard definitions of words must stand, then reach down deep within your twisted panty line, and using your thumb and forefinger, deftly grasp the embedded nub and slide the rigid stick from your bowels. But when confusion arises, even for pedantic bloggers, there may be a problem.
In the first example, I stated that my acquaintances never refer to my exploits as incredible, but not because they aren’t. In fact, my stories and feats have no credibility at all. And often on a scale that makes them and me, incredibly incredible. Instead, my friends never lend me any credence, so incredulous are they.
Oh, it is to laugh.