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normal means not deviating very much from the average


Some people have issues with the word “normal”. They can become irrationally upset if you use the word in a conversation, and this annoys me. It’s as though it has become a taboo word to use, and this is because people do not understand the meaning of the word, or the context within which it can be correctly used. Let me clear this up, before it makes me any more annoyed. Also let me say that “normal” is most likely to induce a bad reaction because it’s often used in the context of defining people (plural) when it gets mis-understood.

Normal is by definition a generalisation. In order for something to be normal, it must be the majority part (or overall trend) of a whole - the word describes a part of a whole and relies upon the whole to derive any meaning. “Normal” does not, and cannot by definition, apply to an individual person or individual example of a group because once you look at an individual part it is no longer being seen in context of the whole.

No one is normal. There isn’t a person you can pull out of a crowd and say “this person is normal”, because that person is unique. You may say that the person represents an example of the norm for that group, but they are not themself normal. No one can be. And yet some people take issue with using a generalisation such as “normal”, because they then try and apply the generalisation to themselves. They then find they do not always fit the generalisation, and so feel that they may be reguarded as abnormal. They take the generalisation and try to apply it to something specific. This is wrong, and takes the generalisation out of context, thus making it meaningless. Don’t do it. Everyone is unique, everyone is individual, and no one person is normal.

Generalisations are essential for efficient communication, but never make the mistake of applying a generalisation to anything specific. Use them as a guide, but nothing more.

Don’t mouth off at the Chav because they’re a Chav, mouth off at them because they’re an idiot

Matt Wilcox


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  1. Laura Lovely posted 25min, 22sec after the entry and said:

    Interesting, I have also experienced this attitude in regard to normality and how it is viewed. I wonder what brought this on?

    But individuality as a whole is ‘normal’ and moreso healthy. We are all individuals so let’s enjoy each other in our own individual way smiley icon: smile


  2. James Dodd posted 22hrs, 23min, 33sec after the entry and said:

    I was thinking this was going to be a blog entry about reducing duplicated data in a database :|

  3. Matt Wilcox posted 22hrs, 50min, 27sec after the entry and said:

    smiley icon: laugh I’m afraid not James, that would have been in the DevBlog… smiley icon: wink

  4. James Dodd posted 23hrs, 11min, 18sec after the entry and said:

    Yea, I’m such a geek! :|

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