Some of my very earliest memories are of talking with him about words and what each one meant. Later on, after I was in school, I brought home words for discussion, and invariably got one of two reactions: (1) “Wash your mouth out with soap!” or (2) “Let’s look it up – just for fun!” So there you are. I grew up in a family that was so dysfunctional we thought reading the dictionary was fun!
And I still do.
Of course we all use the dictionaries and the helpful reference materials on our computers nowadays, but I still find myself in the reference departments of my favorite bookstores, reverently paging through each and every dictionary on the shelf. There’s nothing quite like the feel of the paper in your hands when you are trying to place them on just the right word with just the right meaning. So, in the spirit of the season and with thanks to my dad, I’d like to share three words with you: Gratitude, Joy, and Peace.
First of all, thank you for being a faithful reader each week, and for liking and commenting on these posts. I am grateful (from the Latin).
Second, to wish you all the joys of this holiday season (from Middle English, Old French, and of course, from Latin).
And third, wishing you a peaceful time with your family, friends, and loved ones (from Middle English, Old French, and Latin).
Words express ideas – how fascinating that these three ideas have been around for so long, and in so many places over so many years. And these are only the places the dictionary tells us about! I wonder…
Now stretch what the dictionary has to say about these words to include synonyms, (from middle English, old French, Latin, and Greek!) or words that mean about the same thing.
How many ways can you think of to say grateful? Appreciative? Thankful? Pleasing (an original meaning)?
Or joy: Happy? Ecstatic? Great pleasure?
And how about peace? The absence of war? Freedom from quarrels or disagreement? Harmonious relationships?
Let your mind wander. When you’re brushing your teeth or washing dishes, think of a word. Think of how many ways you could say that word. Consider the slight variations of meaning between each of the words you might use. Under which circumstances would each be appropriate? Effective? More precise? Clearer?
Perhaps you are a word lover too. And so, with gratitude and wishes for joy and peace, Happy holidays!
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