(11/1/07) STRANGERS

“Everyone is stranger the first time we meet him or her, even our parents at one time.” D.A.H.


I was sitting here in Shimoakatsuka, Itabashi-ku Tokyo thinking about the words and the power they posses in a symbolically oriented society. I thought about how words and their definitions evolve (change) over time. I thought about the challenges of using words to communicate in a second language without being aware of the energy or emotions that are usually attached to them.


And, I was thinking about a word used very often in conversation, stranger and what it really means. So I decided to look up a few definitions of the word stranger and see how it is defined by scholars and found that they do not always agree. At least I discovered a very useful online reference tool (http://dictionary.com/), for exploring the definition of words.

stran·ger  Show Spelled Pronunciation[streyn-jer] Pronunciation Key



a person with whom one has had no personal acquaintance: He is a perfect stranger to me.



a newcomer in a place or locality: a stranger in town.



an outsider: They want no strangers in on the club meetings.



a person who is unacquainted with or unaccustomed to something (usually fol. by to): He is no stranger to poverty.



a person who is not a member of the family, group, community, or the like, as a visitor or guest: Our town shows hospitality to strangers.



Law. one not privy or party to an act, proceeding, etc.

[Origin: 1325–75; ME < MF estrangier, equiv. to estrange strange + -ier -ier2 ]
—Related forms

stran·ger·like, adjective

—Synonyms 1, 5. Stranger, alien, foreigner all refer to someone regarded as outside of or distinct from a particular group. Stranger may apply to one who does not belong to some group—social, professional, national, etc.—or may apply to a person with whom one is not acquainted. Alien emphasizes a difference in political allegiance and citizenship from that of the country in which one is living. Foreigner emphasizes a difference in language, customs, and background.

—Antonyms 1. acquaintance.

Words, I wish they were simple and easy to understand!


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