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  • February 2013
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Words and Charity part 1

There are sayings that we (people in general) say all the time.  I have been known to say them myself.  “Well, times were different then.”  Or  “charity begins at home.”

In the process of raising our children, when they have asked us what does (Insert any word) mean, our stock answer is look it up.  Then with eyes rolling and a little huffing and puffing, they go to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.  I personally grew up with a Funk and Wagnall, which I had with me when Joe and I first got married.  Joey and Sierra finally wore it out after about 5 more years.  Then we got a Webster’s.  By then, we had all four kids and we weren’t lacking on our answer.  The kids would have to read out loud to us the definition of said word.  Then we would have a discussion about said word, so that we knew that they truly understood said word.  In my study of the dictionary, I found out that Samuel Johnson’s dictionary was the first.  However, people thought that Merriam’s far surpassed Johnson’s.  You can find out more on this topic here. http://www.merriam-webster.com/info/noah.htm

What struck me the most is the vast difference in the dictionary then and the one we have today.  The words of yesterday do not have the same meaning they do today.  Words like


 noun \ˈwīf\


a dialect : woman

b : a woman acting in a specified capacity —used in combination <fishwife>


: a female partner in a marriage

WIFE, n. plu. Wives. [G., a woman.]

1. The lawful consort of man; a woman who is united to man in the lawful bonds of wedlock; the correlative of husband.

The husband of one wife. 1 Timothy 3.

Let every one of you in particular, so love his wife even as himself, and let the wife see that she reverence her husband. Ephesians 5.

2. A woman of low employment; as strawberry wives. [Not in use.]

Which one do you believe is the one we use now.  If you said the first definition then you would be correct.  Did you notice the scripture that was in the second definition?  That’s right, in the original dictionary there was scripture to back up the meaning of the word.  The second definition came from Webster’s first in 1828.  It has been changed because the world has changed.  I have told my children since they were little don’t believe everything that you read, and that there is only one book that they can always rely on to have the whole truth.  That’s the Bible.   I never thought that I couldn’t rely on the dictionary.  But, I guess that is to be expected with all the words that I have heard other children and young adults say over the years and then for that reason only they are added to the dictionary.  Their “popular”, the “newest trend” and so on.  I am so glad that we had discussions about the words they were looking up.  Because now we can be assured that by what we have taught them won’t change just because the world doesn’t like it anymore.  I’ll talk more on Charity tomorrow.


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