Over the summer, I have been listening for words that have lost their liveliness, so often and mindlessly uttered that they now fall on brains numb to their meanings. And, whenever I ask a colleague which words he or she thinks have died, I hear the same words over and over. There seems to be a concensus about which words need to be revived—or buried forever.
If we are going to continue to use these words, not send them to word heaven, they need to once again get our full attention.
Several years ago I posted a four-step process for "opening up words," restoring them to a like-new freshness, rescuing them from dry fields of dusty cliches. I have again been using this process recently to drill deep into words to locate their meanings. Would some of you like to join me this week? If so, here's what to do . . .
First, read the four steps here. Next, apply the process to the word "purpose." Last, in the comments below, write what you have found in that word's heart. Let's give new life to purpose!
P.S. What would you add to the list of dead words?