Words are meaningless
They mean nothing
We give words their meaning by using them
That’s why a word’s meaning changes over time
One person uses a word to communicate an idea
Then another uses it to communicate their own idea, which may be relatively similar or wildly different.
That process continues, each person using words for different purposes and passing on those subtleties in meaning. Eventually any given word will have an array of definitions.
Just look in a dictionary. Some words have a laundry list of uses.
Eventually new uses will be added to those lists as we use words in new, inventive ways.
Some uses will get deleted from the list. That’s what it means if you come across word definition that has archaic next to it
The definition is archaic because no one has used the word that way for a long time.
We even conjure up new words.
We also alter words to add meaning to them, like irregardless
(which is totally a word)
Words are slippery and malleable They are also INCREDIBLY important
Words are absolutely the best way we have to communicate.
Music, painting, & other artistic expressions are all good ways to communicate our ideas to each other in a general way.
But words can do so with precision.
If I want to know you, the best way to do so if through your words
If you want to know me, the best way will be through my words.
I have to examine the words I come across. Think long and hard about how they are being used. How they were meant to create meaning by the person using them. Try to feel my way through their slipperiness and find what the speaker or writer wanted me to know.
I can’t assume that others use words the same way I do.
I’ve come to realize that so many of the problems we have in the world are the results of not taking the time to exam the words we come across. Those words are meant to create meaning and if we don’t try to see how the person is using the words we can easily miss what they meant.
Grammar, Google, Dictionaries, all good tools to uncover meaning.
But they’re not enough to capture the nuance of how we use, alter, and recreate meaning through language.
Words and language will always be defined by use, just as much or more so than convention.
Think on the words others chose to use
Think on the words you chose to use
I know that I get more out of every interaction with other people when I’m able to consider the words, then move past them to what they mean.
Don’t get caught up on words, they’re dumb. Look for MEANING.