1. A single distinct meaningful element of speech or writing, used with others (or sometimes alone) to form a sentence and typically shown.
  2. The smallest unit of language, consisting of one or more spoken sounds or their written representation, that functions as a principal carrier of meaning. Words are composed of one or more morphemes and are either the smallest unites susceptible of independent use or consist of two or three such units combined under certain linking conditions, as with the loss of primary accent that distinguishes blackbird from black bird. Words are usually separated by spaces in writing, and are distinguished phonologically, as by accent, in may languages.
Choose and use particular words in order to say or write (something).
Used to express agreement.
noun.  concept – expression – term – vocable
verb.  couch – formulate – phrase – verbalize

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean–neither more nor less.” ~Lewis Carroll

The Color of Words IX, Wosene Worke Kosrof, b. 1950, Ethiopia

If someone asked you “what is a WORD,” how would you respond? Upon first appearance, the question seems simple. The word, “WORD”, itself, seems rudimentary. However, looks can be deceiving. Many will say they know the answer to the question, yet when they begin to respond, they find it is more difficult than they thought.

There are endless interpretations and meanings given to WORD, just as there can be endless meanings and interpretations given to Art. As diverse as the eyes of a Universe of beholders. People of many cultures, languages and countries will disagree as to WORD, as well. The dictionary isn’t much help since many dictionaries have multi-sentence, ad hoc definitions which basically boil down to “a WORD is a unit of language that means something, sort of.” (Emphasis added.)

In my simplistic mind, WORD is a conglomerate of syllables and letters that is given meaning through inflection in voice or tone, written or oral. Basically, the WORD I convey inherits meaning by my intent.

So, the next time you find yourself amid the angst or pain resulting from the conveyed WORD of another, remember the oft childhood adage:

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.”

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