Several weeks ago, I was doing some sorting in our store room. Jim's mom was a teacher and a saver. She had lots of books of all kinds. So we have lots of books. No one should ever burn a book, was her theory. But it is time to do something with some of them. So I have been keeping some and giving others to our local thrift shop.......who uses the $$ for their not-for-profit work with handicapped adults.
One of the books that I am keeping was printed in 1880. It's title is "Noah Webster's Common School Dictionary", which was used as a student dictionary in rural schools.
We had fun last night at our church weekly community meal, "What's for Supper?" as we looked up some definitions together to see if, or how, they have changed in the past nearly 125 years.
Here are some of them:
Football, basketball, and baseball weren't in there, but croquet (an open air game with wooden balls and long-handled mallets) and golf (a game played with a ball and a club) were.
African-American, and Hispanic weren't listed, but Negro (a black African, or a descendent of one) was.
Homosexual and lesbian weren't in there; neither was heterosexual. Gay (cheerful, merry, jovial, fine, showy) was.
Jazz wasn't in there, but rap (a quick, smart blow) was.
Man was defined as the human race, or an adult male; woman meant an adult female of the human race. The definitions of sex were distinction between male and female or the second definition: womankind.
Abortion definition was "miscarriage". Pregnant meant "with young; fertile; teeming". Rape was defined as "a seizing by violence; carnal knowledge by force; or a plant of the cabbage family". Several words describing body parts needed for today's sex education classes (i.e. vagina, penis) weren't in there. Could it have been that this was a "student dictionary"?
As I have been reading this old dictionary, I thought of how much things change. How our culture changes and redefines words and their meanings; how many new words come into being.
And then I thought of the Bible, how it doesn't change. We have many new translations, yet the words, and their meanings, are the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. What my grandpa or great-great grandmother may have read, is the same! We can try to change the meaning...........but God stays exactly the same...........and I am grateful for that!!
(If you have words you would like to check out, get me your list. If I get enough of them, it might be a future Karen's Korner !)