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Does the phrase "bizarrely specific" carry a negative connotation, opposed to really just about any other way of putting it? Also as a side note, would you consider it associated with advertising and spam?

For example, a few tops hits from putting the phrase into google news and google:

A naked man's bizarre fight with police ended in the fiery destruction of a luxury home Thursday night in Edmonds KOMO News

Bizarre Stunt at Auschwitz: Group Kills a Sheep, Then Strips New York Times

... bizarre hotline that offers sleep-deprived people some weird and surely unhelpful options to get back to sleep.USA Today

5 Bizarrely Specific Sexist Stereotypes in Modern Ads

This man suffered from a disorder known as prosopagnosia, which refers to the inability to recognize faces. This bizarrely specific disorder is due to lesions in the ...

If you had a trivially mundane, bizarrely specific, almost useless superpower, which one do you think would match your personality?

As a reference about this question Connotation and Denotation

This answer explains some of the meanings of some of the synonyms for the word bizarre, but the word also has synonyms such as: peculiar, curious, outlandish, outré, grotesque, abnormal, queer, freaky.

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I would say no; bizarre (or bizarrely) is not inherently negative – not any more so than words such as peculiar or unusual, and certainly not in a phrase such as "a bizarrely specific case". (In that context, I'd see it as roughly synonymous with "coincidental".)

Moreover, learners should know that even words that are generally used in a negative sense can still be used in a neutral or even complimentary fashion, depending on the subject and the usage. For example, here is a comment written in a sports column:

Every now and then, a prospect comes along with frightening athleticism and a bizarre skill set

Words like frightening and bizarre may seem uncomplimentary, but in the context of sports, the columnist is actually expressing admiration.

As for those lists that you have in your question, those hardly constitute evidence that the word is being used negatively. For example, the publication Business Insider put together a list of "the most bizarrely accurate predictions science fiction writers ever made" – that's not meant as a put-down toward the writers or their predictions.

Bottom line: One can't judge a word by its synonyms, and one should not assume words that are frequently used in a negative context are always meant in a negative way.

  • Ok, how do you "judge" a word then? – gattsbr Mar 25 '17 at 6:25
  • As for the example from the sports column, it goes on to say "and be just a hyped prospect who never becomes a star." – gattsbr Mar 25 '17 at 9:11
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    @gatt - Yes, it does. And then it goes on to say, "Or he could be a Jason Richardson or Vince Carter product who sets the world on fire." (Moreover, just to make it clear which way the author leans, he goes on to say: "Put me down for the J-Rich/Vinsanity category.") It's abundantly clear that "bizarre skill set" is entirely complimentary in this context. As for how to judge a word, you judge it by its definitions, its specific usage, the author's tone and message, and the context. Lastly, I used the word "judge" as a parallel to the English proverb, "You can't judge a book by its cover." – J.R. Mar 25 '17 at 11:17

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