Al Capone is the most famous gangster in the world. His exploits during the prohibition era garnered him international fame and elevated his reputation to iconic status. Yet, few know the story of his older brother, a man who built a long and illustrious career on the other side of the law to his notoriously sinful sibling. Beguiled by the daring feats of southern cowboys, Capone’s brother sported the customary clothes and wielded the traditional weapons with cinematic grace and accuracy. Even though they seldom met and served opposing purposes, the temperamental similarities the brother’s shared were striking.
This week’s wordwatch looks at the use of “commonplace” and how it has evolved from denoting something exceptional to mean something trivial.