Have you ever thought about words? You use them every day. I’m using them to write this! But have you ever really thought about words? What they mean? How they are used? Everything ever said to you that made you feel wonderful – words. Everything ever said to you that made you cry – words. Everything ever said to you that made you mad – words. After sitting up, crawling and walking – the biggest thing we want our babies to do is their First Word. We wash our childrens mouth’s out for saying Dirty Words. George Carlin told us all about the 7 words you can’t say on television. I can go on and on. So lets look at some words.
LOVE – yep, start with a biggie. This may be the most abused word in the language. The meaning, as a noun, “to have tender, passionate affection for”. Okay that’s a good meaning for my purpose. I have seen people say (and have said) I LOVE this – on a Facebook post. So when you change it, as I was taught in my sophomore English class, and insert the meaning instead of the word, it becomes a little ridiculous. Seriously – stop laughing (you know you are). Instead of your comment being “I LOVE this” on that off color joke your friend posted, imagine if you posted “I have tender passionate affection for this”. Okay, now I know you are laughing! And people are looking at you wondering why you are laughing at a computer! Or worse, at your PHONE! However, you see what I mean? A wonderful word, describing a wonderful feeling, that gets watered down by trying to give it multiple meanings it doesn’t have.
Next victim, Hate. Meaning – as a verb, to dislike intensely; to feel hatred. As a noun, intense dislike. Hmmm, same meaning with the words transposed from verb to noun. Easy you say. Okay. I hate lying. Change it – I intensely dislike lying. Good, same general thought, less words, more concise. I hate it when auto correct changes my words. Yep, the meaning fits here too. So unlike its opposite, love, hate doesn’t get misused as much, but it still gets over used. Next victim, please.
This one is a bit harder. Terminal. Adverb meaning situated at the end; concluding. Noun meaning end or extremity. But wait a minute. This word isn’t misused. However, depending on how it is used it can evoke dismay, despair, even hate. When you hear the word terminal from your local mechanic, it usually is in connection with your battery terminals. No dismay here, until the inflated bill is handed to you. When you hear the word terminal from your travel agent, it means you are traveling, and will be preceded by either airport, bus, train or ship. This meaning usually gives way to joy, excitement and anticipation. But when you hear the word terminal in a doctors office or hospital, there is no joy. There is no excitement, There sure as hell is no anticipation. There is dread, shock, horror, disbelief – you name it. If its a negative emotion it flies through you in an instant. In your mind, from that moment on, there is an end in sight. Usually a very ugly, unpleasant end.
For decades, when a doctor said the word cancer, the word terminal was right there in the same sentence, whether it was said or not. Now that isn’t necessarily so. There are many forms of cancer that are treatable. Thus the word remission, so readily used by medical professionals and anyone who has a terminal illness that is no longer manifesting itself. It meaning – as a noun, the act of forgiving. HUH? Lets do the sentence test. My cancer is in remission – we understand that to mean that it might come back, but that it is currently not attacking the persons body. My cancer is in the act of forgiving. Nope, makes no sense to me. Your cancer is forgiving you for what? Believe me, I have never had cancer but I would bet money that anyone who has had it has not asked for it. Maybe further examination is needed. Yes, lets move to the next word.
Forgiving. A verb meaning to grant pardon for or to. Let me get this straight. If I have cancer, or any other life threatening, permanent, major illness, and it goes into remission, that means that the cancer or other illness is in the act of granting me pardon???? Not trying to be flippant, but I thought that pardon came from governors, or it was something you asked for when you belch in public! Lets look at what the good old dictionary says – as a noun, a legal release from a penalty. As a verb, to excuse; forgive. So remission is cancer, or whatever disease, saying “excuse me”? To put it in childhood slang, OOPS????
So we have looked at a couple of words. Using multiple words. Now I will stop here, and let you ponder those words, and ask a question. Have my words made you think?