Tuesday’s Word: intimate

intimate (adjective):

characterized by close personal acquaintance or familiarity
belonging to or characterizing one’s deepest nature
intrinsic, essential; innermost
marked by warm friendship developing through long association
suggesting informal warmth or privacy
of a very personal or private nature
of or involved in a sexual relationship

 It’s yet another word that has been eroded by popular usage until all that it suggests to many people’s minds is a mere shade of its full meaning. In three of the dictionaries I consulted, a sexual connotation appears at or near the end of the list of definitions offered; in the fourth, not at all. Yet sadly, those of us who are blessed to have experienced the true intimacy of deep friendship and/or consecrated marriage must now be cautious in our use of the word, for fear of being misunderstood.

I find it pathetically ironic that what is glamorously marketed as ‘intimacy’ in our society pointedly disregards or even disdains the very qualities – personal closeness; consideration of one another’s essential selfhood; warm, time-proven friendship – that so many lonely souls are so desperately seeking.

 

 

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