BUXOM. Heartburn. Inmate.

While some words keep the same meaning forever, others can change dramatically over a few short years.

Here are the original meanings of 15 words that have now taken on a new life, according to the website MentalFloss.

1. Artificial

Previous meaning: Of or belonging to art.

While it’s now quite an insulting remark, calling someone artificial used to be a compliment!

2. Charisma

Previous meaning: A divinely power.

Today it signifies a person’s appeal and charm, but the word charisma used to be associated with supernatural elements such as restoring sight to the blind, and performing other miracles.

3. Buxom

Previous meaning: Meek, obedient.

What a rather, ahem, different meaning this word has taken on!

4. Awful

Previous meaning: Deserving of awe.

From one extreme to the other …

5. Myriad

Previous meaning: 10,000.

Greek mathematicians were rather specific about the meaning of this word, while nowadays it’s a much more generalised term to mean “countless or great in number”.

6. Ejaculate

Previous meaning: To suddenly and passionately say something; to exclaim

MentalFloss quoted this rather double entendre-filled sentence from Jane Eyre as an example of the word’s previous meaning: “The sleepers were all aroused: ejaculations, terrified murmurs sounded in every room; door after door unclosed; one looked out and another looked out; the gallery filled.”

7. Heartburn

Previous meaning: Jealousy or hatred.

It may seem like a similar sensation for those suffering from it, but it’s definitely not the same thing anymore!

8. Bully

Previous meaning: Lover, sweetheart, wonderful.

The meaning of this Germanic word started to deteriorate in the 17th century to become “harasser of the weak”.

9. Inmate

Previous meaning: A person who dwells with others in the same house.

These days, if you called your roomie an “inmate”, they wouldn’t be thrilled.

10. Dapper

Previous meaning: Heavy-set.

Not exactly a compliment in the olden days.

11. Balderdash

Previous meaning: A frothy liquid.

Would have been a tasty drink while playing the board game version!

12. Terrific

Previous meaning: Terrifying.

Nowadays, few would say: “I just saw a terrific accident on the highway”.

13. Brothel

Previous meaning: A low-life.

This word used to describe thieves and cheaters … wait a minute …

source: news.com.au