It seems to me that popular public figures, places, and things are more and more described as "beloved". I am not talking about the long-standing use of "beloved" with relatives and pets, especially in obituaries, but more with inanimate things and public figures with whom one has no personal attachment. It's a little difficult to do a corpus frequency search on this, but recently I have seen the following described as "beloved"
Pizza Pizza, a Canadian pizza chain
Canadian Tire, a chain of hardware stores ("Beloved Canadian Tire"??? Really?)
film and TV franchises and series
restaurants (especially when reporting that they are ceasing business)
a cannabis brand
TV hosts and actors
the Snowbirds (Canadian aerobatic team)
Swiss Chalet rotisserie chicken
Corn Flakes and All-Bran
It all seems hyperbolic to me. Why are restaurants and actors always "beloved"? Do I really feel about my Corn Flakes as I do about my family?
The New Oxford Dictionary of English does in fact approach this diminished sense, but only in a specific structure:
adjectivedearly loved: his beloved son.
- ■ (beloved by/of) very popular with (a specified set of people): the stark council estates beloved of town planners in the 1960s.
The Canadian Oxford Dictionary does not, sticking with "dearly loved" alone (perhaps because the latter's Editor-in-Chief was being cranky?). But when you see the synonyms the Oxford Thesaurus provides for "beloved", the meaning is a bit over the top:
darling, dear, dearest, precious, adored, much loved, cherished, treasured, prized, highly regarded, admired, esteemed, worshipped, revered, venerated, idolized.
Would you apply any of these to Canadian Tire?
I will admit this annoys me, even though I'm supposed to appreciate sense development of words. Surely "popular" or "well-liked" or "admired" would do?
What about you? Have you noticed this use of "beloved"? What do you think?
How do you pronounce this word when used as an adjective before a noun? As two syllables or three? Is it "be LUVV id Canadian Tire" or "be LUVVD Canadian Tire"? Traditionally, dictionaries have recorded "be LUVV id" when the adjective is used before a noun or as a noun (as in "dearly beloved") and "be LUVVD" for when it is used after a noun but I believe this usage is shifting.