I smell a skunk

I have spent the past few days working (well, volunteering) as a critical reader on the upcoming third edition of "Garner's Modern American Usage," which is an excellent guide to American English. One of the interesting concepts I've seen referred to in the pages I'm reading is "skunked terms." In the second edition, Garner says these terms come about when "a word undergoes a marked change from one use to another. ... Some people (Group 1) insist on the traditional use; others (Group 2) embrace the new use."

"A word is most hotly disputed in the middle part of this process (of change); any use of it is likely to distract some readers. The new use seems illiterate to Group 1; the old use seems odd to Group 2. The word has become 'skunked.'"

Garner uses the example of hopefully, which once meant "in a hopeful manner" and now is widely used to mean "it is to be hoped."

Another that I would say is a candidate for skunking is one I saw in the draft I am reading: "effluence." I've always seen this used as a euphemism for bodily excretions. I was surprised to find that it originally meant "something that flows out," which could extend to the scent of a bottle of perfume. I'd put myself in Group 2 here, in that it seems odd to use it for something nice, and so would call the word skunked. (Hey, don't skunks have an effluence?)

Garner's advice on skunked terms is to not use them if you want to be clear and credible to all readers. It seems a shame to lose a word while it is changing, but if it isn't going to be clear, I think this is probably good advice.