I was a teenager in the late 80s and 90s in New York, and, as a result, there is a particular piece of slang that has remained in constant use in my vocabulary. That exclamation is, “Word!” It basically means, “exactly.” However, there is a nuanced difference between “exactly” and “word.” People today may think that the term “Facts!” is interchangeable with “word,” and while close, they are not quite the same.
Trying To Be Cool
I bring up my use of this particular piece of slang because it amuses me. After driving my youngest child’s friend home and chit-chatting in the car, I must have uttered this quintessential exclamation, and my daughter’s friend later asked her if I was “trying to be cool and young by using slang.” Hahahahaha! Chuckling, my daughter explained that it was just old slang that had stuck. But just this past week, I had family over from Ireland. I hadn’t seen her in a very long time, and it was wonderful to catch up for the days she was here. As we talked about the parts of the trip she enjoyed the most, she chuckled and said, “The way you randomly say ‘Word’ in conversation.” We all laughed. Her favorite part of the trip was actually the food – specifically the breakfast I’d made before Thanksgiving, Ackee and Saltfish, and is now determined to find Jamaican food in Ireland.
Back To The Point
I promise I’m not rambling, even if it’s taking me a while to get to my point. “Word” means so much more than “I agree,” or “Exactly,” or “Facts.” There is a depth of understanding associated with it that encompasses a feeling, an emotion, a connection to the larger context of what is said. Superficially, it affirms the speaker’s comment, but on a deeper level, it also agrees with the sentiment, the context, and various implications associated with whatever has been said. That got me thinking about the saying itself. A single word is a powerful representation of a much larger idea, and the word is also the basis of all communication and language. Word.
Dear John: The Power of Words
That got me thinking about John 1:1, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Bible says the Word preceded everything. The Word is Jesus. What an interesting name for God. Cruden’s Concordance attributes 198 different names or labels for God in the Bible. Christian Answers notes 950. John says everything started with the Word.
I felt that.
I feel that.
It means that it all starts with Christ. We should all start with Christ. Our language, communication, thoughts, and forms of expression all started with God. God is the beginning of all things for us – down to every word we speak.
No wonder words are so powerful! No wonder we are warned so often in the Bible about the words of our mouths and the things we speak over ourselves. No wonder it takes Jesus just a word to heal. No wonder we are told that a word can move mountains. A word can cast out demons. A word can raise the dead. Words are life, power, and strength. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Word!