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(Linguistics) a word widely used in a sense much looser than its original meaning, such as tremendous or awful
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈkaʊn tərˌwɜrd)

a word that has come to be used with meanings much less specific than that which it had originally, as swell, awful, or terrific.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Siemon describes critical writing, his own as well as everyone else's as " the encounter of utterance with utterance, with the aim of embedding the text's words in its contemporary counterwords as well as in our own paraphrases and indirect locutions" (93, emphasis supplied).