My grandson was trying to get my husband to give him all his bandana handkerchiefs to play with, but he didn’t have the correct name for the item in his very extensive three year old vocabulary. He started up the stairs to retrieve them by himself when he decided to enlist my help to get the “noseblowers.” We couldn’t help but laugh.
He called the item by its function. Makes pretty good sense. We find all kinds of reasons to identify things and describe stuff. In the very early recounting of Creation, Adam is given the daunting task of naming all the animals. I sure would like to know how he came up with hippopotamus.
My mother swears I created the word “humongus.” (She thinks I’m so creative and that’s one bubble I chose not to burst.) But since then we’ve come up with ginormous, absatively, and oppersponsities. (My spell checker is giving me fits right now—I’m afraid I may run out of red ink.)
Making up words is obviously not a new thing. When I studied New Testament Greek, I was always looking for the 1-1 words. These were words that were used one time by one writer. They were unique and purposely place to catch our attention. They were words “coined” or used by that writer to express something new or different, or something old in a new way. Now when you think of this, it makes a lot of sense since everything was new since Jesus.
Paul was especially good at these word creations. He would be trying to describe the enormity of God, or his love, or our responsibility and he would just start shoving words together to emphasize the “gigundousness.” Paul was pretty intense about his faith. He wanted everyone to get it. And he used and created words to create interest and attention—and believers.
“Noseblowers” caught our attention and we laughed. Grandson loved the attention and we played with handkerchiefs for over an hour. Even through the games and laughter I found myself thinking about the words I use. In Paul’s instructions to young Timothy (1 Timothy 4:12), the first thing listed for setting the example is in speech. God spoke and the world came into being. Words carry a lot of power.
We can have a lot of fun with words. We can also do a lot of damage. What will your words do today?