Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Words, Wonderful Words!

I love words. I love the sounds they make. Say the word sesquipedalian (which means many syllables or characterized by long words) out loud and listen to the music in the hiss and snap of the syllables but also the way it tickles your tongue when you say it. I also love the etymology of words and discovering their intricate meanings which sometimes are ironic such as the word cleave which used as an intransitive verb means to “adhere firmly and closely,” but when used as a transitive verb means “to divide by cutting.” The same word means two exactly opposite things!

I especially love when writers play with words and the writers of scripture are especially good at this. For example, in Genesis we read where the Lord says, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Obviously this is the “adhere firmly and closely” use of the word, but there is a certain play with the word since at the same time it is telling us to leave or divide from the parents. Therefore, both meanings of the word cleave come into play in this verse.

In the Sermon on the Mount there is another fun use of words. Jesus tells the people, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matthew 7:7). Look closely at what we are instructed to do: Ask, Seek, Knock. Now take the first letter of each of those words and what do you have? The acronym ASK.

Words are instructive, they are musical, and they are delightful. Listen to the words you hear today and how they are used. It makes daily life very entertaining!


SuSu said...

I'm with you......I love love love words. Mixing them, matching them, saying them, hearing them, reading them!

Wendi said...

Your enthusiasm for words is very uplifting, as well as amusing. :) Thanks!

Martha said...

I have a fascination with the meanings of names, and I love the wonderful way words paint pictures, especially in poetry. I love that the scriptures have both.