meanings of words

Recently I find myself thinking a lot of the words “never” and “forever” or “always”. These are words we use frequently, oftentimes not giving them the proper weight they deserve. We jokingly comment on our own foibles, muttering “never say never” anytime we use the word, but do we mean it? Why do we say “never”, if that amount of time is incomprehensible to us? And what about “forever”? Why say it if we don’t mean it?

I am one to use the word “forever” or “always” (the same word, “siempre”, in Spanish) more than most, but I also believe it. If I tell you that I will always be there for you, always offer you a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen to you, or a mischevious smile when you await it, I mean it. Just like I always (there it is again, that silly word) mean it when I say how lucky I am to have the friends I do, or things like that.

“Love” is another tricky word, especially used in conjunction with “always”. When signing letters or emails, it is common practice to say “Love always, XX”, is it not? But do people mean it? Do *you* mean it?

What responsibility do these words hold us to? What binds us to their meaning? Almost nothing. But something has come up making me wonder: is there a time limit on cashing in your “forever” chip? For example, if you end a relationship, yet tell that person you will “always” be their friend, are you held fast to “forever”, or is there an expiration date? If said person blows you off for years and years, what is your obligation to them, if anything? Are you allowed to break your word, your promise, because they have passed a time limit? And if you have felt rejected, are you still connected to your promise of “forever”? Or is your word in *the* word, subtley suggesting that, even if you feel hurt, you need to hold up your end of the deal?


One thought on “meanings of words

  1. according to

    1. every time; on every occasion; without exception: He always works on Saturday.
    2. all the time; continuously; uninterruptedly: There is always some pollution in the air.
    3. forever: Will you always love me?
    4. in any event; at any time; if necessary: She can always move back with her parents.

    1200–50; ME alwayes, alleweyes, alles weis, gen. (denoting distribution; cf. once ) of all wei; alle- lost its gen. ending and was treated as a compounding element under influence of alle wey alway. See all, way, alway, -s 1

    1. regularly, invariably, consistently. 2, 3. perpetually, everlastingly, continuously. Both always and ever refer to uniform or perpetual continuance. Always often expresses or implies repetition as producing the uniformity or continuance: The sun always rises in the east. Ever implies an unchanging sameness throughout: Natural law is ever to be reckoned with.


    1. without ever ending; eternally: to last forever.
    2. continually; incessantly; always: He’s forever complaining.
    3. an endless or seemingly endless period of time: It took them forever to make up their minds.
    4. forever and a day, eternally; always: They pledged to love each other forever and a day.

    1660–70; orig. phrase for ever

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