Patrick Ross laments the "verbal escalation" evident in our descriptions of events – terms like Frankenstorm, Snowpocalypse, and Carmageddon – which he blames on "the 24-hour news channels that provide us 24 minutes of news recycled all day":
We have been doing this for some time, taking words that already encompass significant scale or impact–like “hurricane”–and modifying or replacing them with no good reason. Take “unique.” The word means “being without a like or equal.” Yet how often do we hear an interesting individual called “pretty unique,” or a rare item called “very unique”? How can you be degrees of unique? Why do we feel the need to insert a modifier in front of an absolute?
Kevin Staley-Joyce adds his two cents.