As we all know, language undergoes change over time, especially idioms. I remember when “The mother of all X” became a popular U.S. English idiom (to mean “The greatest of all X”, as distinct from its earlier usage, “The origin of all X”). It was a little over 20 years ago, the time of the first Gulf War. Saddam Hussein promised us “The mother of all battles”, and it sounded humorously strange. Today, it’s a cliche.
One idiom I see becoming widespread is the use of “It begs the question…”, to mean “It raises the question…”
As with “The mother of all X…”, begging the question has a different, earlier usage. It meant an argument whose outcome you rigged, by simply assuming the conclusion (what you wanted to prove) as one of your argument’s premises. But I see ever more people using the phrase in a different sense, like this:
With the markets breaking all-time highs last week, it begs the question of just how high they can go.
To me, that’s a misuse. No, it doesn’t “beg” the question. It POSES the question. It RAISES the question. Unless the idiom has changed, and I’m just being cranky about it.
Which RAISES (!) the question: When do idioms change? What bell is rung? How much must an idiom be misused, before the grating mis-usage should be accepted as the new, correct usage? Or should some of us just keep pointing out how uneducated people sound, when they misuse it?