Cheers for the word 'norm!'

Cheers for the word 'norm!'

Sometimes I hear (other) commenters using “the new normal” to describe our present circumstances so often that I react like I’m in the bar on the old TV show “Cheers,” and George Wendt’s character, Norm Petersen, just walked in. Every time he did, a cry would go up in the bar — a cry I want to let loose when I hear “normal” overused:


Things are (or aren’t) normal. That’s an adjective.

But what we’re losing is the word “norm,” the noun for the standard of what is normal.

Indictments of political figures may become a new norm. Mass shootings already are.

Do we accept these things as normal just because we don’t have the word ready to talk about norms?

If it all makes you think too much of “Cheers,” try substituting the word “standard.”

So much is going wrong in our country and our world.

What are our norms? What are our standards?


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  • That gets us into a Weather Girl topic. "Normal" is now defined as something like the 30 year average. If one accepts the existence of climate change, normal is going up. Stuff like July, 1995 is included in that average.

    Don't forget, while everyone else said "Norm," Diane always said "Norman."

  • In reply to jack:

    Norman Bates was anything but normal.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Related to Abbey Normal?

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    So I understand. I've watched the end of "Psycho" -- purposely, without the details, so I will have something to work on remembering if I ever get the nerve to see the rest.

  • In reply to jack:

    I suppose I'll have to admit it; norms shift. I'm not sure that the 30-year average applies to language as much as to weather, though. As for Diane Chambers, I didn't necessarily like her, but I felt for her, being the Serious character in the show for so long. (Yes, I remember Lilith Crane -- I never thought of her as anything but comic. She thought of herself as Serious.)

  • Could we say that our new norms and our new standards are lower than the normal norms and the standard standards?

  • In reply to jnorto:

    We could say that, jnorto. I fear it is the truth. I want my normal norms and standard standards! (That's fun to type. Thanks.)

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