Definition Essay - The Many Ways to Define Service

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Definition Essay - The Many Ways to Define Service

 
The service will soon end.  When one reads the prior sentence what exactly does he see coming to an end?  Depending upon one’s hobbies, peers, and cultural status, certain words may take on a sense of ambiguity.  The definition as stated in The Oxford English Dictionary, “work done for somebody else as a job,” is seemingly accurate.

A possible influencing factor on one’s definition of service could be the SLWP work the entire WRA135 class has contributed to the YouVote website.  With the dedicated service to the website, and in turn the viewing community, the student may have come to view the word service as a term describing the help of others.

Throughout the years the definition of service has developed according to the morals of the times and situations.  The ubiquitous concept of slavery in the 1800’s could have affected the definitions recorded in The Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, which defines service as, “the menial business of a servant; anything done by way of duty to a master.”  Along with the turn of the millennium came worries of war, and American citizens placed emphasis on our armed forces.  With these thoughts imbedded in the authors’ minds it is not surprising that an emphasized definition of service in The Encarta World English Dictionary is stated as, “a government agency; armed forces.”

After the principles of a certain time period have faded away the usage of a word associated with these principles begins to diminish as well, and the word may take on a newly developed meaning.  Perhaps due to this theory, one may not be familiar with one of the many definitions of the word service.  According to The Encarta World English Dictionary one description of the meaning of the word service is, “copulation with a female animal. Used of male animals, especially studs.”

Not because of unfamiliarity, but because one may have never really stopped to examine the many variations in definitions, one may not have realized how often the word service can be applied to many varying situations.  For example Oxford’s English Dictionary’s entry of service states, “active devotion to God, as through good works or prayer.”  An individual could have forgotten, but has now been reminded, of this form of service.

With a newly gained open-minded outlook on vocabulary, in particular the word service, one should be able to recognize the many ambiguities words have to offer.

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  So, next time a reader come across a sentence offering a word with dual meaning such as the sentence: the service will soon end; hopefully he will stop and think:  Is the speaker planning on discontinuing his work for others, leaving the army, or is he just intimately involved with a female animal?

Works Cited

* "Service."  The Oxford English Dictionary. Second Edition. Clarendon Press. 1989.
* “Service.” The Encarta World English Dictionary. St. Martin’s Press. 1999.
* “Service.” The Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, Electronic Version. Christian Technologies, Inc.1998. http://www.christiantech.com


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