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Monday, February 16, 2009


A new feature for my blog. So many times we are familiar with words and we might even use them in the proper context, but we don't really know what they mean. Looking them up is a great never know what you are going to find. My favorite resource for definitions is The American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828 Edition, by Noah Webster. The reason is that Noah Webster was a Christian and his definitions reflect his beliefs, and mine.
The word that has prompted me to this post is...

Before I looked it up I thought a synonym to compunction would be compelled, and would have used it like this: He felt compunction to do it.

I appreciate Webster's definition much more:
n. [L. To prick or sting.]
1. A pricking; stimulation; irritation; seldom used in a literal sense.
2. A pricking of the heart; poignant grief or remorse proceeding from a consciousness of guilt; the pain of sorrow or regret for having offended God and incurred his wrath; the sting of conscience proceeding from a conviction of having violated a moral duty.
He acknowledged his disloyalty to the king, with expressions of great compunction.

My new sentence: He felt compunction for having done it.

Rather than impelling a person to action, as I my original sentence would imply, compunction is that dreaded realization a believer gets when his thick head comes to the realization that he has sinned against God; it should bring him to confession and repentance. It is a good word.

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