Scrabble! | Word Fights & Changing Definitions

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I wanted to do a quick comparison. I have noticed that much of the battle that is going on in our culture between worldviews is that of definitions. As such, we have seen in modern times a shift in the meaning of basic words. What is the impact of this shift in definitions? I think we are already seeing some of its fruit, but time will tell – and probably quickly in some cases.

Below is a list of words. The first definition is from Dictionary.com. This is a free online dictionary that is very useful and I have used often myself. Here is what they say on their site  regarding their services: “Dictionary.com is the world’s leading online source for English definitions, synonyms, word origins, audio pronunciations, example sentences, slang phrases, idioms, word games, legal and medical terms, Word of the Day and more. For over 20 years, Dictionary.com has been helping millions of people improve their use of the English language with its free digital services.” The one problem I would have with them is they are too up-to-date which in some cases, which can be misleading of the actual mean of some words.

The second entry is from the 1828 version of Noah Webster’s dictionary. He was a student of words and created his now famous dictionary. This is one of the early versions of his work and it is also a free online dictionary (http://webstersdictionary1828.com/). This is a time in our culture when the Bible was a commonly used source (not always used correctly, but still more common than today which we can see in Webster’s work).

Just for the length this could be, I have not included the full definition of most of these. Let’s see what we find:

  1. Tolerance
    1. Dictionary.com
      • a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, beliefs, practices, racial or ethnic origins, etc., differ from one’s own; freedom from bigotry.
      • a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward opinions, beliefs, and practices that differ from one’s own.
      • interest in and concern for ideas, opinions, practices, etc., foreign to one’s own; a liberal, undogmatic viewpoint.
      • the act or capacity of enduring; endurance: My tolerance of noise is limited.
    2. Webster’s
      • noun [Latin tolerantia, from tolero, to bear.] The power or capacity of enduring; or the act of enduring.
    3. Thoughts – this is one I am please with! I think the definition has stayed consistent even though many people in society radically misdefine this and act as though tolerance means acceptance. Not so!
  2. Gender
    1. Dictionary.com
      • either the male or female division of a species, especially as differentiated by social and cultural roles and behavior: the feminine gender.
      • a similar category of human beings that is outside the male/female binary classification and is based on the individual’s personal awareness or identity.
      • Archaic . kind, sort, or class.
    2. Webster
      • Properly, kind; sort.
      • A sex, male or female. Hence,
      • verb transitive To beget; but engender is more generally used.
      • verb intransitive To copulate; to breed. Leviticus 19:19.
  3. Transgender
    1. Dictionary.com
      • noting or relating to a person whose gender identity does not correspond to that person’s biological sex assigned at birth:
      • noting or relating to a person who does not conform to societal gender norms or roles.
    2. Webster’s
      • No entry
  4. Equality
    1. Dictionary.com
      • the state or quality of being equal; correspondence in quantity, degree, value, rank, or ability:
      • uniform character, as of motion or surface.
      • Mathematics . a statement that two quantities are equal; equation.
    2. Webster’s
      • An agreement of things in dimensions, quantity or quality; likeness; similarity in regard to two things compared. We speak of the equality of two or more tracts of land, of two bodies in length, breadth or thickness, of virtues or vices.
      • The same degree of dignity or claims; as the equality of men in the scale of being; the equality of nobles of the same rank; an equality of rights.
      • Evenness; uniformity; sameness in state or continued course; as an equality of temper or constitution.
      • Evenness; plainness; uniformity; as an equality of surface.
    3. Another one to rejoice!
  5. Love (noun only)
    1. Dictionary.com
      • a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
      • a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.
      • sexual passion or desire.
      • a person toward whom love is felt; beloved person; sweetheart.
      • (used in direct address as a term of endearment, affection, or the like): Would you like to see a movie, love?
      • a love affair; an intensely amorous incident; amour.
      • sexual intercourse; copulation.
    2. Webster’s
      • An affection of the mind excited by beauty and worth of any kind, or by the qualities of an object which communicate pleasure, sensual or intellectual. It is opposed to hatred. love between the sexes, is a compound affection, consisting of esteem, benevolence, and animal desire. love is excited by pleasing qualities of any kind, as by kindness, benevolence, charity, and by the qualities which render social intercourse agreeable. In the latter case, love is ardent friendship, or a strong attachment springing from good will and esteem, and the pleasure derived from the company, civilities and kindness of others. Between certain natural relatives, love seems to be in some cases instinctive. Such is the love of a mother for her child, which manifests itself toward an infant, before any particular qualities in the child are unfolded. This affection is apparently as strong in irrational animals as in human beings. We speak of the love of amusements, the love of books, the love of money, and the love of whatever contributes to our pleasure or supposed profit. The love of God is the first duty of man, and this springs from just views of his attributes or excellencies of character, which afford the highest delight to the sanctified heart. Esteem and reverence constitute ingredients in this affection, and a fear of offending him is its inseparable effect.
      • Courtship; chiefly in the phrase, to make love that is, to court; to woo; to solicit union in marriage.
      • Patriotism; the attachment one has to his native land; as the love of country.
      • Benevolence; good will.
        God is love 1 John 4:7.
      • The object beloved.
        The lover and the love of human kind.
      • A word of endearment.
        Trust me, love
      • Picturesque representation of love
        Such was his form as painters, when they show their utmost art, on naked loves bestow.
      • Lewdness.
        He is not lolling on a lewd love-bed.
  6. Baby (noun only again)
    1. Dictionary.com
      • an infant or very young child.
      • a newborn or very young animal.
      • the youngest member of a family, group, etc.
      • an immature or childish person.
      • a human fetus.
        • [My note: I find this one interesting in the discussion of abortion as many say a fetus isn’t a baby, but by definition, well, it is.]
    2. Webster’s
      • An infant or young child of either sex; a babe;
      • A small image in form of an infant, for girls to play with; a doll.
  7. Fetus
    1. Dictionary.com
      • (used chiefly of viviparous mammals) the young of an animal in the womb or egg, especially in the later stages of development when the body structures are in the recognizable form of its kind, in humans after the end of the second month of gestation.
    2. Webster’s
      • The young of viviparous animals in the womb, and of oviparous animals in the egg, after it is perfectly formed; before which time it is called embryo. A young animal then is called a fetus from the time its parts are distinctly formed, till its birth.
  8. Infant (noun only)
    1. Dictionary.com
      • a child during the earliest period of its life, especially before he or she can walk; baby.
      • Law . a person who is not of full age, especially one who has not reached the age of 18 years; a minor.
      • a beginner, as in experience or learning; novice: The new candidate is a political infant.
    2. Webster’s
      • A child in the first period of life, beginning at his birth; a young babe. In common usage, a child ceases to be called an infant within the first or second year, but at no definite period. In some cases, authors indulge a greater latitude, and extend the term to include children of several years of age.
      • In law, a person under the age of twenty one years, who is incapable of making valid contracts.
  9. Parent
    1. Dictionary.com
      • a father or a mother.
      • an ancestor, precursor, or progenitor.
      • a source, origin, or cause.
      • a protector or guardian.
      • Biology . any organism that produces or generates another.
      • Physics . the first nuclide in a radioactive series.
    2. Webster’s
      • [Latin parens, from pario, to produce or bring forth. The regular participle of pario is pariens, and parens is the regular participle of pareo, to appear.]
      • A father or mother; he or she that produces young. The duties of parents to their children are to maintain, protect and educate them.
      • When parents are wanting in authority, children are wanting in duty.
      • That which produces; cause; source.
        Idleness is the parent of vice.
        Regular industry is the parent of sobriety.
    3. Interesting how “educate them” has been removed from the modern definition…
  10. Discrimination
    1. Dictionary.com
      • an act or instance of discriminating, or of making a distinction.
      • treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit: racial and religious intolerance and discrimination.
      • the power of making fine distinctions; discriminating judgment: She chose the colors with great discrimination.
      • Archaic . something that serves to differentiate.
    2. Webster’s
      • The act of distinguishing; the act of making or observing a difference; distinction; as the discrimination between right and wrong.
      • The state of being distinguished.
      • Mark of distinction.
  11. Discriminate
    1. Dictionary.com
      • verb (used without object), dis·crim·i·nat·ed, dis·crim·i·nat·ing.
        1. to make a distinction in favor of or against a person or thing on the basis of the group, class, or category to which the person or thing belongs rather than according to actual merit; show partiality: The new law discriminates against foreigners. He discriminates in favor of his relatives.
        2. to note or observe a difference; distinguish accurately: to discriminate between things.
      • verb (used with object), dis·crim·i·nat·ed, dis·crim·i·nat·ing.
        1. to make or constitute a distinction in or between; differentiate: a mark that discriminates the original from the copy.
        2. to note or distinguish as different: He can discriminate minute variations in tone.
      • adjective
        1. marked by discrimination; making or evidencing nice distinctions: discriminate people; discriminate judgments.
    2. Webster’s
      • verb transitive [Latin , difference, distinction; differently applied; Gr., Latin ]
        1. To distinguish; to observe the difference between; as, we may usually discriminate true from false modesty.
        2. To separate; to select from others; to make a distinction between; as, in the last judgment, the righteous will be discriminated from the wicked.
        3. To mark with notes of difference; to distinguish by some note or mark. We discriminate animals by names, as nature has discriminated them by different shapes and habits.
      • verb intransitive
        1. To make a difference or distinction; as, in the application of law, and the punishment of crimes, the judge should discriminate between degrees of guilt.
        2. To observe or note a difference; to distinguish; as, in judging of evidence, we should be careful to discriminate between probability and slight presumption.
      • adjective
        1. Distinguished; having the difference marked.
  12. Abortion
    1. Dictionary.com
      • Also called voluntary abortion. the removal of an embryo or fetus from the uterus in order to end a pregnancy.
      • any of various surgical methods for terminating a pregnancy, especially during the first six months.
      • Also called spontaneous abortion. miscarriage(def 1).
      • an immature and nonviable fetus.
      • abortus(def 2).
      • any malformed or monstrous person, thing, etc.
      • Biology . the arrested development of an embryo or an organ at a more or less early stage.
        1. the stopping of an illness, infection, etc., at a very early stage.
      • Informal .
        1. shambles; mess.
        2. anything that fails to develop, progress, or mature, as a design or project.
    2. Webster’s
      • [Latin abortio, a miscarriage; usually deduced from ab and orior.]
      • The act of miscarrying, or producing young before the natural time, or before the fetus is perfectly formed.
      • In a figurative sense, any fruit or produce that does not come to maturity, or any thing which fails in its progress, before it is matured or perfect, as a design or project.
      • The fetus brought forth before it is perfectly formed.
  13. Marriage
    1. Dictionary.com
      • (broadly) any of the diverse forms of interpersonal union established in various parts of the world to form a familial bond that is recognized legally, religiously, or socially, granting the participating partners mutual conjugal rights and responsibilities and including, for example, opposite-sex marriage, same-sex marriage, plural marriage, and arranged marriage: Anthropologists say that some type of marriage has been found in every known human society since ancient times.
      • Also called opposite-sex marriage . the form of this institution under which a man and a woman have established their decision to live as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies, etc.
      • this institution expanded to include two partners of the same gender, as in same-sex marriage ; gay marriage.
      • the state, condition, or relationship of being married; wedlock: They have a happy marriage.
      • the legal or religious ceremony that formalizes the decision of two people to live as a married couple, including the accompanying social festivities: to officiate at a marriage.
      • a relationship in which two people have pledged themselves to each other in the manner of a husband and wife, without legal sanction: trial marriage.
      • any close or intimate association or union: the marriage of words and music in a hit song.
    2. Webster’s
      • [Latin mas, maris.] The act of uniting a man and woman for life; wedlock; the legal union of a man and woman for life. marriage is a contract both civil and religious, by which the parties engage to live together in mutual affection and fidelity, till death shall separate them. marriage was instituted by God himself for the purpose of preventing the promiscuous intercourse of the sexes, for promoting domestic felicity, and for securing the maintenance and education of children.
      • Marriage is honorable in all and the bed undefiled. Hebrews 13:4
      • A feast made on the occasion of a marriage
        The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king, who made a marriage for his son. Matthew 22:2.
      • In a scriptural sense, the union between Christ and his church by the covenant of grace. Revelation 19:7.

Well, I think this may give us a good idea of what has changed and the trajectory our society is heading. Words are important! Let us guard them carefully and preserve their true and deeper meanings.

Published in: on 7 PMpSat, 02 Feb 2019 16:18:32 -040018Saturday 2016 at 4:18 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] area we really must improve is our language. This is where the war is being waged today! I wrote a post recently about the fight over definitions. It’s more that just that however. It’s also in our […]


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