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  • Writer's pictureGale Farnsworth

The Many Meanings of Words

As I write, and again, while I’m editing, I consider words carefully. Choosing the very best word is a challenge, and for me, it can be a joyous experience.

My father in-law, a voracious reader who was fortunate to inherit many old books, gave me the 7th Edition of Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary as a gift after earning my MFA. And what a gift! Johnson’s definitions are a reflection of his time, and his understanding of a word can allow a writer in the 21st Century to view a well-known word with fresh eyes.

For instance: HOPELESS,

1. Wanting hope; being without pleasing expectation. Hooker

2. Giving no hope; promising nothing pleasing. Shakespeare

*Johnson’s Dictionary can be found online.

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